If you are leaving your property for an extended period during the winter, it is smart to winterize your home. Pipes that freeze can expand and break, leading to catastrophic leaks when they thaw. LACSD responds to numerous property-damaging water leaks every year due to frozen pipes. These types of leaks also waste a large amount of water every year. To protect your home or business from the damage and expense of frozen/broken pipes, take these precautions to reduce your risk.

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When leaving your home for an extended period:

  • Disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Detaching hoses from outdoor faucets allows water to drain from the pipe.
  • Turn off the water at the Master Shut-Off or Customer Shut-Off Valve and turn on the water at the furthest point in your home to drain all the pipes. Check any other areas of the home that may have trapped water. Once all the lines have been drained, close the taps you opened before leaving your home.
  • Remember to drain the irrigation system once the water is turned off. Be sure to close the system once all the water has been drained.
  • If your Customer Shut-Off Valve is not near the water meter, call LACSD’s Customer Service at (909) 336-7100 to turn the water off at the meter during normal business hours. Once this is done, follow the steps above to ensure all the water is drained. Then close the taps you opened and ensure the Customer Shut-Off Valve is turned. When you return, call us back to turn it on for you. There is no charge during normal business hours. Only authorized District personnel may turn the water meter on or off. If you have a Customer Shut-Off Valve near the water meter, it is not necessary to have LACSD turn the meter off as well.
Maintaining low heat in your home does not ensure your pipes will not freeze. Properly winterizing your home will save on your heating bill.

Do not leave a faucet open with a constant drip. This is a waste of our precious resources and will register on your water meter as a leak. You will be contacted by District personnel to turn it off.

Other Winterizing Tips:

  • Irrigation season ends on October 15th. This is the time to winterize your irrigation system, even if you continue to occupy your home. After turning the irrigation system off, be sure to drain the pipes to remove any trapped water that can freeze causing pipes to expand and break.
  • Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas. Even when your home is occupied, pipes in unheated areas can freeze. If you have pipelines in an unheated garage or cold crawl space under the house, wrap the water pipes before temperatures plummet.
  • Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks. Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes but be sure not to block air vents that your furnace or water heater needs for proper ventilation.
  • Locate your Master Shut-Off or Customer Shut-Off Valve. In case of a leak, be sure everyone in your household knows where it is and what it does. It’s usually located where the water line comes into your house from the street or in a separate box near the water meter.

My pipes still froze. What do I do next?

Despite all precautions, frozen pipes may still occur during an extended cold spell. Call your local plumber to assist you. There are proper ways to thaw your pipes and reduce potential damage.

If you think you know where the freeze-up occurred and want to try thawing it yourself, do not under any circumstances use a torch with an open flame! The whole house could catch on fire. Also, overheating a single spot can burst the pipe or damage a soldered joint allowing it to leak or come apart.

To safely attempt thawing a frozen pipe, try a hair dryer on a low heat setting. Wave the warm air back and forth along the pipe, not on one spot. You can also try wrapping the frozen section with towels and pouring hot water over it.

Be careful because the pipe may already be broken. It won’t leak when the water is frozen, but when you thaw it out, water could come gushing out. Be ready to turn off the Master Shut-Off Valve or Customer Shut-Off Valve if necessary.

If you have any questions about winterizing, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service staff at (909) 336-7100.