Prevent Frozen Pipes from Bursting Your Budget

Friday, February 12, 2016

​Now that winter is in full swing, Virginia Beach Public Utilities urges homeowners to prepare their water pipes for freezing temperatures. Following these simple tips could prevent costly repairs and messy clean-ups due to water damage from burst pipes:

When Freezing Temperatures Are Predicted

  • Allow a steady drip of cold water to flow from the highest faucet in your home. (Using cold instead of hot water will save you money on your energy bill.) Moving water will not freeze.

  • When plumbing is near an outside wall, open cabinet doors under sinks so room heat can reach the pipes.

  • Locate your private water shut-off valve so you’ll be prepared to turn your water off if your pipes do freeze and burst. If you’ve got water pouring out of your ceiling, you don’t want to have to wait even a few minutes for Public Utilities or a plumber to respond to shut off your water.

If Your Pipes Freeze

  • Turn your water off at the private water shut-off valve (see below).

  • Never try to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame or any electrical appliance. It’s dangerous and could damage your pipes.

  • Be prepared for possible leaks as the pipes thaw. 

Finding Your Private Water Shut-Off Valve
The location of the shut-off valve varies, but all buildings less than 25 years old have one. Likely locations for the private water shut-off valve include:

  • Close to an outside hose bib, where the water supply pipe enters your home. The valve will be located inside a box or pipe in the ground, several feet from the exterior of your home.

  • Near your water heater, or under a vanity cabinet or kitchen sink, particularly if you live in a townhouse, condominium, or apartment.

  • On the wall in your garage, particularly in newer homes.

If your pipes have burst and you can't find your shut-off valve, call (757) 385-4631 (311 or 385-3111 nights, weekends and holidays).  A Public Utilities member will be dispatched to turn off your water service at the meter.


For more information on preventing frozen pipes, contact Erica Roberts with Virginia Beach Public Utilities at (757) 385-4948.


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