Dept. of Water Management’s Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Dept. of Water Management’s Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Winter officially begins on December 21, 2019 and the Department of Water Management wants to remind residents to take precautions to prevent their pipes from freezing.

As the temperature drops for more prolonged periods of time, the greater the chance that pipes could freeze and burst – causing costly damage to homes.

  • Make sure the pipes in your homes are properly insulated and not exposed to freezing air.
  • Maintain proper heat in your homes.
  • Insulate pipes, particularly those outside or on the perimeter of the residence.
  • Run a trickle of cold water on each floor of the home at the points furthest from the location of the main water service into the home.
  • Make sure that there is warm air circulating in any area where there are water pipes. This includes garages and unheated areas of the home.
  • Remove all garden hoses from hose bibs and cover the bibs with Syrofoam hose bib insulating caps.
  • Make sure there are no broken windows.
    If pipes freeze, do not thaw them using candles or any open flame. Instead please use a hair dryer or heating pad. 

Visit for more tips on how to prevent frozen pipes. 


Remember that snow is water. When snow melts, the water drains the same as it does after a rain fall.

Snow melting on a warm day after heavy snow fall can cause the sewer system to overload with water. To keep this water from backing up into the basement, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Clear sewer catch basins of old leaves or debris before a big snow.
  2. Limit the use of dishwashers and washing machines when heavy snow fall is melting quickly. This will prevent excess water from overloading the sewer system.


To ensure good water quality, remember to flush your plumbing system every day. Simply run the cold water for five minutes when water in the home hasn’t been used for six hours or more. Daily activities such as showering, doing laundry or dishes count as daily flushing.

The Department of Water Management offers free water testing to all Chicago residents. If you are interested in having your water tested for free call 311 or visit to request a lead test kit.