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It's cold: Protect your pipes to protect your property and keep the water on.

News Article
Take steps now to protect your plumbing from the winter weather.
Published
Updated

Learn what to do if water pipes freeze, leak, or burst as temperatures rise

Update 1/15/24: Our amazing crews are working hard to respond to main breaks and an increasing number of requests for emergency water shut offs for customers with burst pipes. Downed trees and power lines might impact response times. Help our crews help you:  

  • Leave cabinets open and indoor faucets dripping until temps rise.
  • Locate your emergency shut off valve now in case your pipes break.
  • Store extra water now in case water service is disrupted by a main break or burst pipes at your home.
  • Report potential water main breaks to our 24/7 emergency dispatch line: 503-823-4874.

With below freezing temperatures in the forecast, the Portland Water Bureau is staffed and ready to respond to weather-related main breaks and service disruptions, and we will respond as quickly as we can while putting safety first. But we can't do it all, especially when it comes to the water that's moved into the pipes of your home. You can help our crews by taking steps now to protect your own plumbing from freezing temperatures. 

Prevent frozen pipes

Cartoon of someone placing a cover over an outdoor faucet and text that reads: Disconnect your hoses, and use an insulated cover for all exterior hose bibs. Do this before outdoor temperatures drop to freezing.

To keep the water flowing, and protect your property from water damage due to frozen or busted pipes, take the following steps:

Illustration of a pipe inside an open cabinet with text that says: 'Keep pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes can break or leak. Keep cabinet doors open to help keep pipes warm. If your pipes do freeze, thaw them with a hair dryer or heat lamp.
  • Note the location of all shut-off valves, so you’re ready to turn off the water quickly if a pipe inside your home breaks. If pipes break, make sure to turn off your water heater, too, to prevent it from pulling water into a pipe that's already leaking or broken.
  • Wrap outdoor faucets and hose bibs in newspapers, rags, or hose bib/faucet covers.
  • Open the cupboards under your sinks so pipes get more heat. 
  • Let indoor faucets drip: If temperatures dip below freezing, leave a slight drip of cold water to prevent water and pipes from freezing. 
  • Help us help you: If you see the ground buckle with water coming up from the street or sidewalk, it could be a main break. Report it to our 24-hour Emergency Line at 503-823-4874 option 1.

Learn more about protecting your plumbing 

What to do if your pipes freeze

Illustration of someone turning a valve on a pipe with text that says: Act quickly if your pipes break. Close your main water shutoff valve. Turn off the water heater. Contact a plumber if the break is on the property's side of the meter.

If no water is coming out of your faucets, this could mean your pipes are already frozen. Here are some steps you can take to defrost those pipes: 

  • Caution! Frozen pipes can break or leak. Be prepared to shut off your water if pipes break. 
  • Keep cabinet doors open to help keep pipes warm.
  • If your pipes do freeze, thaw them with a hair dryer or heat lamp.
  • Once the pipe has thawed, leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.

Contact

Water service emergency line

Report leaks or water service disruptions/problems.
phone number503-823-487424 hours a day, 7 days a week

Water Quality Line

Ask drinking water quality and pressure questions.
phone number503-823-7525Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Interpretation services available.