Prevent Frozen Pipes in Winter Months

Water lines in Minnesota are typically buried between six (6) feet deep and eight (8) feet deep and only freeze during extreme low temperature conditions. When extremely low temperatures persist for long periods of time, consider the following to prevent frozen water and sewer service lines:

  • The most likely spot for water lines to freeze is where it enters the house/building where there is little or no insulation.
  • Make sure to clear the area of storage items so warmer room air can reach the pipes. This may mean removing items from a vanity cabinet or in a utility room.
  • Use heat tape on water lines attached to outdoor walls with poor insulation.
  • Use a warm hair dryer, but do not leave unattended. Heating copper pipe too much can break the soldered joints.
  • Make sure the roof vent is not covered with snow or is otherwise blocked. Snow build up over the vent will cause the sewer drain to slow down. This prevents the warmer air in the sewer system from venting up the house line and keeping the line above freezing.
  • Monitor water flow in the nearest (to the outside) fixture closely. Run your cold water for a couple minutes and then take the temperature of the water. If it is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit as a last resort, you can let your cold water run from this faucet at a pencil thickness. You must first call the City of OPH to notify before any water and sewer usage billing credits will approved.
  • During extreme low temperatures for long periods of time, and if your water service is prone to freezing, you should consider running water non-stop when there is no one home or no water is being used for a period of time. Ensure that there are no sewer blockages.
  • Be mindful and cognizant of unintended consequences of sewer or septic backups if running water continuously.
  • If a home's thermostat isn't hardwired and relies on a battery, property owners should make sure that battery is fresh.