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Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Frozen Water Pipes and Your Home: What You Need to Know

The Water Bureau reminds customers that the best way to handle any sort of water emergency in your home including broken pipes is to be prepared before it happens.

So what happens if you’ve prepared your home plumbing for winter and your pipes still freeze?

First, to determine if pipes are frozen, turn on faucets throughout the home. If some faucets work and others do not, you may have a frozen pipe.

What If Pipes Freeze?

  • Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.
  • Do not open the water meter box near the curb. It could increase the chance of freezing water at the meter.

What If Pipes Break?

  • Close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shutoff valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
  • Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold water inlet.

Remember, the repair of broken pipes on the customer’s side of the meter is the customer’s responsibility. Contact a plumber for repair work.

Get Cold Weather Plumbing Preparation Tips

Find out how to prepare your home water systems for freezing temperatures with this helpful cold-weather preparation guide from the Portland Water Bureau.

Be Our Eyes and Ears: Winter is Main Break Season

Main breaks, service leaks and frozen water meters can also occur as a result of cold weather. If you observe running water in the street, believe you are not receiving water from your meter or experience an urgent water problem, please contact the Portland Water Bureau's 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503‐823‐4874.

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