City of Johnson Creek, WI

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Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Wisconsin winter weather can cause water pipes to freeze and burst, resulting in costly repairs for homeowners. To avoid frozen pipes, flooding and costly repairs:

  • Locate the main shut-off valve in your home prior to freezing weather to make sure it operates freely.
  • Drain outside faucets by shutting off the valve inside and allowing remaining water to drain out the outside faucet.
  • Basements or crawl spaces must be heated enough to protect plumbing.  Any opening to the outside must be closed and properly insulated to eliminate cold air reaching pipes.
  • If your meter or interior plumbing are located near outside walls or the foundation of the home, insulation should be installed to prevent freezing.  You may also want to leave cabinets open during cold spells to allow heat to reach plumbing under sinks near outside walls.  If you decide to wrap any pipes in heat      tape or use heat cables, use only UL listed products and carefully follow manufacturers instructions.
  • If you have had problems with a frozen service or frozen pipes in the past, it may help to leave a small amount of water running during periods of extreme cold.
  • If you will be away from your home for a night or two, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature to make sure all areas with water pipes are kept above freezing.
  • If you will be away for several weeks or months, shut off the water and drain the entire system. Call a plumber for proper procedures.
  • For more information about avoiding frozen pipes, here is a helpful link to the Red Cross web site: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes


When Pipes Freeze

If you believe interior pipes have frozen:

  • Turn off the water at the main valve for your home and contact a plumber. 
  • You may want to try a hair dryer or portable heater to attempt to thaw the pipe. This is not recommended if there is standing water present
  • NEVER TRY TO THAW A PIPE WITH A TORCH OR OPEN FLAME.

NOTE: If the frost plate to your meter has broken during cold weather, please contact the Water Department at (920) 699-3341. Repairs other than replacement of a broken frost plate require a licensed plumber.

This is the official site of the Village of Johnson Creek, Wisconsin