Boston, Mass., January 17, 2024 –  With Boston about to experience its first sustained cold spell of the winter, with nighttime temperatures well below freezing until early next week, Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) is reminding people that there are proactive steps they can take to prevent interior pipes from freezing.  

  • Check for open windows, air vents, and wind drafts near water pipes
  • Seal leaks in the basement foundation where cold air may enter; fill holes with insulation as a tiny opening can cause an exposed pipe to freeze
  • Allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to water pipes that run through unheated spaces (the constant drip minimizes any ice buildup in the pipe, which helps to prevent pipes from bursting)
  • Keep sink cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes
  • Insulate pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces; inexpensive insulation can be bought at hardware and home supply stores
  • Locate the water shut-off valve and know how to shut off water; if a pipe bursts, shutting off the water promptly can help minimize the damage (shut off valve is usually located by the meter)
  • If your pipes freeze, use a hair dryer to thaw the lines safely; thawing will not be fast, but it will be safe: NEVER USE AN OPEN FLAME TO THAW PIPES

If there is no water coming through any of your taps, there may be a problem in your street or yard. If so, call BWSC’s 24-hour Emergency Assistance line at 617-989-7900.

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