ICYMI: Protect Your Pipes this Winter

ICYMI: Protect Your Pipes this Winter


Protect Your Pipes this Winter
Baltimore weather can be bitterly cold, and the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) reminds residents that residential water lines as well as the city's water main infrastructure may be impacted. Cold weather can harm water infrastructure especially during long periods of cold and repeated freeze/thaw cycles. Water service lines and water meters can freeze when the temperature remains below 25 degrees for extended periods of time. Sub-freezing temperatures can also impact water mains, causing the ground to buckle and shift, resulting in broken water lines.

When temperatures drop below freezing, let a thin stream of cold water run from a basement faucet. The stream should be a continuous flow, about the thickness of a pencil lead. This water can be caught in a bucket and used later.
DPW maintains outdoor water lines up to and including the meter. Water lines running from the meter to the house, and internal plumbing, are the responsibility of the property owner.

For water emergencies in Baltimore City, please call 311, or call 410-396-5352 in our Baltimore County service area.


Consider getting a service protection policy for your exterior water/sewer lines. Baltimore has partnered with HomeServe USA to provide these low-cost protection plans. Please visit BaltimoreServiceRepairs.com

During last winter’s “Big Freeze,” from Christmas to the end of January, DPW responded to 559 confirmed water main breaks. That is roughly half the number of all water main breaks in 2017. DPW is replacing 15 miles of water mains yearly to reduce breaks and increase reliability.
In addition to freezing and thawing conditions, pipe corrosion, soil conditions, a history of previous breaks, and age contribute to water main breaks. If you are out of water due to a main break, after service is restored allow water to run through a sink or tub faucet until clear.
To report a broken main, please call 311, or call 410-396-5352 in our Baltimore County service area.