As Temps Plunge, Protect Your Home's Water Pipes


This winter is off to a frigid start and there’s another cold front approaching. It's important for home and business owners to act now to protect their water pipes from freezing or bursting, before winter sets in for the long haul.

Water Meters and Pipes:

  • Double-check outdoor hose bibs to make sure all hoses are disconnected and faucets are turned off and drained.
  • Make sure your basement is properly insulated, and check for areas where cold air may be rushing in.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces, unheated garages, and attics.
  • Leave some heat on in unused areas of your home.
  • If you leave home for a few days, keep your thermostat on at least 55 degrees and open any cabinets where sink plumbing is against an outside wall.
  • Never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame.
  • Ensure your furnace vents are clear of snow and ice. A clogged furnace vent can cause a backup of toxic carbon monoxide in your home.
  • 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 household knows where it is in case a pipe does freeze and burst.

Clearing Snow from Fire Hydrants:
Madison Water Utility cares for the city’s 9,009 fire hydrants. If a hydrant is lost or buried in snow, firefighters can lose valuable time trying to locate it when they first arrive at a fire. Please help keep this critical part of our water system ready in case of a fire by clearing snow from the hydrants near your home.

If you are interested in the “Adopt-A-Hydrant” program, please send email to:


Frozen outdoor faucet due to being left on during frigid temperatures.
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