Now is the time to protect your water pipes for the winter

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 10:30am

Before next week's bitter cold snap hits, don't forget to make sure your water pipes are protected. Here are some simple steps you can take right now to help keep your pipes from freezing:

  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces, unheated garages, and attics.
  • Pay special attention to pipes near basement windows and make sure they're well-insulated
  • Leave some heat on in unused areas of your home.
  • If you go out of town for a few days, keep your thermostat on at least 55 degrees and open any cabinets where sink plumbing is against an outside wall.
  • If you’re leaving town for an extended period, have your home and pipes professionally winterized.

And it’s always a good idea to find the master shut off valve that turns the off water to your entire home – it’s usually in the basement – and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is in case a pipe does freeze and burst.

Burst water pipes can be a nightmare. Take a look at video taken inside a vacant Madison home This link will leave the City of Madison website and open in a new window. where pipes on the second floor burst last winter. The mess wasn’t found until spring, when a neighbor noticed water pouring out under a patio door.

Every winter, our inspectors spot vacant homes where pipes have burst and caused major damage. If you know that a home in your neighborhood is vacant, keep an eye out for water leaking from under doors, or frost building up on the insides of windows. Call Madison Water Utility if you suspect problems and don’t know where to locate the property’s owner. (608) 266-4661 (dispatch)


  • Media Inquiries: Amy Barrilleaux, Madison Water Uility Public Information Officer(608) 266-9129

Water Utility