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Don’t Let Pipes Freeze as Temperatures Dip: Tips from Loudoun Water

The local water supplier tells residents to take precautions.

Tips to keep pipes from freezing. Credit: Loudoun Water
Tips to keep pipes from freezing. Credit: Loudoun Water

With freezing temperatures expected over the next two days, Loudoun Water has offered the following tips to helps residents keep their pipes from freezing and causing even more headaches at home: 

As the weather turns colder, water expands as it freezes and this can put tremendous stress on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. Usually pipes that freeze are exposed to severe cold weather, like outdoor hose bibs, water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements, garages, or kitchen cabinets.   

Here are a few preventive measures that can help you when temperatures dip below freezing:

  • Tightly close doors and windows to the outside.
  • Insulate pipes and any drafty areas. Contact your local hardware store for proper materials. 
  • Seal all leaks in crawl spaces and basements.
  • Shut off and drain the pipes leading to your outside faucets so no water is left to freeze, expand and cause a leak in these lines.
  • Close the inside valves and drain the pipes leading to your outside hose bib (faucet).
  • Know where your main shut off valve is and label it. Minimize the potential for water damage by ensuring that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in case of an emergency.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Hardware and plumbing supply stores carry insulation to keep pipes from freezing.


During significant cold snaps, follow these tips: 

  • Open the cabinets beneath any place with a water supply, such as the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This will allow warm air to circulate. (Remove any toxic substances first if there are small children in the home.)
  • To prevent your pipes from freezing, allow a faucet to drip cold water slowly. The faucet you choose should be the one that is the greatest distance from your main water shut off valve.
  • If your pipes freeze, never thaw a pipe with an open flame. You can use a hair dryer on low or a portable heater, but avoid using electrical appliances if there is standing water. Use warm water to soak towels, then wrap the towels around the frozen pipes.

If you turn on a faucet and only have a trickle of water coming out or no water at all and it has been very cold for a period of time, suspect a frozen pipe or meter. Identify whether the problem is throughout the house or in one area.

If it’s only in one area of your household, you may be able to thaw the pipe by opening the cabinets and allowing the warmer air to circulate around the pipes. Always remove any toxic substances first if there are small children in the home. You could use a hair dryer on low or a portable heater, but avoid using electrical appliances if there is standing water.

If there is no water throughout your household or you think you may have a frozen pipe or meter and have determined that it is not within the home, please contact Loudoun Water Customer Relations at 571.291.7880 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm) or our After Hours emergency number at 571.291.7878.  In this situation, always contact Loudoun Water before contacting a plumber. In order to assist you, someone will need to be home. The Loudoun Water representative will check with you before leaving to ensure your water has been reinstated.

Visit our website and click on Plumbing and Pipes for more information.

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