Protect Your Pipes

Pipes and utility meters can freeze when the temperature remains below 25 degrees for extended periods of time. The Baltimore City Department of Public Works offers the following tips to help protect water lines during periods of cold weather:

  • 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 as laundry or dish water.
  • If your pipe is frozen, gently warm it with hot air from a blow dryer at the point where it enters your house.
  • Be sure you know the location of the water shutoff valve in your home. Check it periodically to ensure it works properly.
  • Be sure to shut off water to outside faucets.
  • Periodically monitor your sump pump. A frozen drain pipe could result in a flooded basement.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated parts of your house. Be especially alert if you have had frozen pipes in the past.

The Department of Public Works maintains outdoor water lines up to and including the meter. Water lines running from the meter to the house, as well as internal plumbing, are the responsibility of the property owner. Consider buying a protection plan for your water lines, such as that offered on For water emergencies call 311, or 410-396-5352 in Baltimore County.

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