October 20, 2019 • In Plumbing, Tips • 2 Min Read

What To Do First If a Pipe Freezes in Your Home



Winter is tough on us all, that is for sure. But, it hits your pipes especially hard. We’re here to help!

The first thing you’ll notice if pipes freeze is that water will not come out of one or more faucets.

So, first things first: find out where the pipes have frozen. Take out your sleuthing hats to hunt down the frozen culprit by opening faucets.

Hint: If you can’t get water out of any of your faucets, the line has frozen close to where it enters your house. If you can’t get water out of one or two of your faucets, then one of the branch lines has frozen.

Working backward from the non-working faucet, look for signs such as:

  • Frost on the pipe
  • A swollen pipe

Hint: Water expands as it freezes. If the pipe is swollen, check for splits or ruptures.

Beware! If the pipe is split open, shut off water to the house by closing the main shutoff valve near your water meter. Call a plumber immediately to install a repair coupling where the pipe is broken.

Finding the Main Water Shutoff Valve

Typically, the valve will be located in your basement or on a wall outside of your utility area. To cut off the water supply to your home you need to turn it clockwise. Doing this can be different depending on the design of your main shutoff valve.

There are two main designs: Gate Valves and Ball Valves. If you have a ball valve turn the handle a ¼ turn clockwise so it’s perpendicular to the pipe like a right angle.

Check out the video below

For more information, learn how to shut off your main water supply. If you still can’t figure out how to get the water off, or there are too many valves to tell which is which, our call center is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week to help answer any questions. We can walk you through shutting down your water, no problem.

If The Pipe Has Not Burst

You’ll need to thaw it out.

It is important to heat pipes as quickly as possible to avoid broken pipes or if it is clear pipes have already broken, have a professional help with a plan to thaw and avoid flooding or further damage to the property.

To begin thawing out the pipe, view our guide How to Thaw Frozen Pipes for next steps.

Ready To Talk To A GEM Home Services Specialist?

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