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In cold temperatures, water service lines can freeze if frost is pushed below the water line. Water lines inside the home can also freeze due to freezing temperatures, extreme wind chill and cold drafts. 

Become familiar with ways to prevent pipes from freezing, and what to do if your pipes have frozen.

How to prevent pipes from freezing

Repair costs associated with frozen pipes are the responsibility of the homeowner. Here are a few tips to prevent frozen pipes in the winter:

  • Keep the heat on: Keep your home heated at normal levels to avoid cold spots. Leave your heat on while on winter holidays as well.
  • Insulate the outside water lines: wrap any water lines near outer walls or doors with insulation. You can wrap your exterior water lines with heat tape to help prevent pipes from freezing outside.
  • Keep the water flowing: frequently drawing water from the tap may prevent freezing because it creates a regular flow of water.
    • Let the water drip from the faucet: running water through the pipe—even a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing. Drip hot or cold water to keep pipes from freezing.
    • Keep your bleeder valve turned on: If you have a bleeder valve in your home do not turn it off. EPCOR will notify you when it's time to do so.
  • Turn off outdoor hoses: double check your outside hose faucet to ensure they're closed off. If they freeze, they can burst and may cause water to drain into your home.
  • Check your hot water tank: if your hot water tank is located in a maintenance room outside of your home, make sure the area is adequately heated.
  • Ask your house sitter to run the water: if you're going away on vacation, ask the person who is checking on your home to run the taps as running water through the lines in cold weather makes it less likely that they'll freeze. 
  • Don't forget about outdoor water features: if you have a pool or decorative water feature, turn the motor on and keep the pump running and the water circulating.

How to check if pipes are frozen

If you suspect that your pipes are frozen follow these steps to confirm.

  • No running water, or water is only a trickle: You can help diagnose the problem by turning on all the faucets inside the house and flushing each toilet. If a trickle or no water is flowing from any fixture and there is no known water main break in your area it is likely you have a frozen service line.
  • Visible signs of frost on fixtures, or pipe is frosted over: If you have any exposed piping in your home, such as those underneath sinks or in an unfinished basement, check for frost on those pipes or fixtures. This would be a good indication that it is frozen.

How to fix frozen pipes

The sooner a frozen line is thawed, the better. Over time, freezing will extend further along the line and make thawing more difficult, time-consuming and potentially more costly.  Here are a few more tips to fix frozen pipes:

  • If you have a frozen pipe, taking the right steps to thaw it will help avoid damage to the pipe, line or plumbing system. Never attempt to thaw your line with an open flame. A hair dryer, space heater, or even a heat lamp can be used to warm a narrow pipe with caution. Do not attempt in confined spaces where you do not have proper clearance.
  • If you are unable to thaw your water lines, contact a plumbing or heating company for assistance.

 Experiencing a water outage?

When water goes out, we're working to restore it as quickly and as safely as possible. If you aren't sure if your issue is related to a frozen pipe or another outage you can view current water outages online and get up to date information in your area.

View our water outage map


Call us to report a water outage. We're here to help.

If you see a water emergency, such as a burst water line or main break, please report Edmonton water outages or other water system trouble by calling our 24/7 emergency line to let us know.

Call us at (780) 412-4500