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Madison Fire Department
Committed to recruiting and retaining a qualified, diverse, inclusive and safe fire workforce.

Safety & Prevention

Frozen Water Pipes

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

  • Locate the main shut-off valve before weather turns awful and make sure it operates freely.
  • Drain outside faucets by shutting off the valve inside and allowing remaining water to drain out the outside faucet.
  • 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.

If your water pipes do freeze:

  • Consult a professional plumber before taking action.
  • If trying to thaw frozen pipes on your own never attempt to thaw the pipes with an open flame such as a propane torch. This may cause the pipes to explode and could also easily catch your home on fire. Instead use an electric hairdryer to thaw the frozen pipes, but never leave it unattended.

If your frozen water pipes burst

  • If it is possible to reach the valve without standing in water, turn off the main valve to avoid further damage.
  • If you can't reach the valve without standing in water, call a professional plumber.