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Frozen Service Pipes and What to Do

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

Cold weather can bring unexpected surprises — sometimes unwanted. Extreme cold events deepen the frost in the ground which can freeze service pipes for many residents. The @City of Ottawa’s Water Services team is proactively monitoring its water infrastructure and taking steps to prevent disruptions of service to residents.

When water pipes freeze, it can affect up to 2000 homes and businesses. Water Services will issue these notices to customers who have previously experienced a frozen water service pipe, using a phased notification process based on increasing frost penetration depths. The notice provides customers with advance notification that their water service pipe may freeze again, information on how to avoid a frozen water service pipe (including a let water run advisory), and steps to take if their water service pipe freezes.

While the City maintains the water infrastructure up to the property line, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain their home’s plumbing and pipes. Residents can protect the water service pipes on their private property (between the property line shut-off valve and the home or business) by:

  • Proactively insulating pipes near exterior walls.

  • Keeping indoor air temperature above 8 degrees Celsius throughout the winter.

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