Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

Preventing Frozen Pipes & Meters


Cold weather and icy temperatures can cause frozen water pipes and water meters, possibly causing damage to your home. The following information can be critical in preventing frozen pipes or aid in what to do if pipes become frozen.

Be Prepared

  • Make sure all family members know how to shut off water to your home at the water meter
    • The water meter is a pear-shaped, bronze-colored metal device located on the water line into your home. There is a valve on either side of the meter that can be used to shut off water in an emergency


  • Seal off any cracks that admit drafts into the basement, garage, or crawl space containing water pipes
  • Keep all doors and windows tightly shut at all times
  • Allow adequate heating to areas with water pipes
  • Insulate exposed water pipes by using pipe insulation or even layers of newspaper
  • Protect your water meter by insulating it as well

What To Do if Your Pipes are Frozen

  • If your water meter shows signs of leakage or damage, call the Water & Sewer Department
  • If pipes are frozen just before or after the meter, find the sections that are exceptionally cold. Gradually apply heat with an electric heater, hair dryer, or heating pad
    • DO NOT USE DIRECT FLAME OR BOILING WATER: this can burst the pipe!
  • Frozen water service lines will have to be thawed. They require the service of a plumber at the homeowner’s expense

Frozen Pipes Inside the Home

  • Thaw the frozen pipe with an electric heater, hair dryer, or heating pad. In the case of a pipe within a cabinet, leave cabinet doors open under the kitchen or bathroom sinks to let warm air in to thaw the pipes

CAUTION: Please use caution when using electric appliances to thaw pipes. Be sure the thawing is being done by an adult. Be careful to avoid electric shock or fire hazards.

City of Freeport

Water & Sewer Division
During Working Hours: 815-233-0111
After Hours Emergencies: 815-232-6017

Back to top