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Frozen Water Pipes


Find information about how to prevent frozen water pipes, water service line responsibilities, water meters.

Water service line responsibilities

A water service line is the pipe that runs underground from the watermain at the street into your home. It connects to the water meter and plumbing inside your house. Responsibility for costs of maintenance, service and repair of water service lines depends on the location of the line.

An illustration of a house indicating the property line and the water service, water main and water meter. A property line bisects the area in which the Region and the Homeowner are responsible.
The curb stop is usually located just outside the property line, usually on the municipal side of the property.

Responsibilities in the general maintenance, repair and freeze prevention of water lines:

Halton Region

Responsible for the section of water service line that runs from the watermain under the street, up to and including the curb stop.

Property owner/homeowner

Responsible for the section of water service line that runs from the curb stop into the home. Homeowners are also responsible for all indoor plumbing and for ensuring the water meter does not freeze.

Multi-unit buildings

Condominiums and townhouse complexes

Water service line may split at the curb stop into several independent lines, in addition to fire service lines. Lines between the curb stop and building may be jointly owned by the owner and residents, or outright by the owner. Ownership may or may not involve property management companies.

Causes of frozen water pipes

Inside house

  •  Inadequate heat
  •  Temperature falls below freezing
  •  Plumbing located in area with insufficient heat

Outside house

  •  Extreme cold temperatures can push the frost line deeper

Frozen water pipe action plan


  • Outdoor taps
    • Remove hoses
    • Drain pipes
    • Shut off outdoor water supply (outdoor taps and garage)
  • Pipes
    • Wrap water pipe insulation around plumbing susceptible to freezing (highlight pipes located near outside walls, in crawl space, attic, garage etc.)
  • Garage/windows/doors
    • Seal air leaks
    • Do not leave doors open any longer than necessary
  • Master shut-off valve
    • Know location (usually beside water meter)
  • Curb box
  • Indoor air
    • Pay attention to areas with plumbing, especially near water meter
    • Keep indoor air temperature above 12ºC (54ºF)
    • Ensure good air calculation
    • Keep inside doorways open
    • Keep garage doors closed except when in use
  • Going away for an extended period during cold weather?
    • Shut off master shut-off valve
    • Flush all toilets and open a tap on lower level to drain your system
    • Have someone check your home regularly during your absence

No Running Water

  • Master shut-off valve:
    • If your plumbing freezes or a pipe bursts, close the main shut-off valve immediately
    • If only some of your fixtures have no water, it is likely your internal plumbing has frozen.
    • Contact a licensed plumber
  • Curb box:
    • If your service line freezes, Halton Region staff may need access to your curb box
    • Clear away snow to make curb stop visible
  • Contact Halton Region
    • Call 311 - Access Halton - 905-825-6000
    • If none of your faucets, showers or toilets have water, your water service line is frozen

Frequently asked questions

  • If you have not already done so, please Contact us. Halton Region can help you prevent frozen lines!
  • Only if required, Halton Region will contact you to run water from your faucet. The consumption component of your water bill will be adjusted accordingly.
  • If you run your water continuously to prevent freezing, without being contacted by Halton Region, you will be charged for the extra water use.

No, not if Halton Region contacted you to continuously flow your water and you follow the steps below. Your water bill will include the fixed fee only for the period you flowed your water, as long as you follow these steps:

Before you start flowing your water to prevent freezing:

Once you are notified to stop flowing water:

Failure to follow these steps will result in charges for water consumption

  • Not if the frozen section of the service line is on Halton Region property. In this case there is no charge to the property owner.
  • If the frozen section is only on private property, the property owner will be charged $541.64 (2018 rate) for 15 to 25 mm service line. For service lines larger than 25 mm diameter, the fee is equal to the actual cost of the work.
    • This fee applies each time Halton Region thaws a water line on private property. Prevention is therefore important for property owners.
    • If freezing damages the water meter , a fee of $358.39 (2018 rate) will be charged for meters 15 to 25 mm in size. For meters larger than 25 mm, the fee will be equal to the actual cost of the meter.
  • If it is unclear whether the frozen section is on the public or private side, there will be no charge to the property owner.
  • Locate the curb box outside your house and clear away any snow so it is accessible.
  • Ensure the main water shutoff valve is accessible. It is located inside your home, near the water meter. Remove any furniture or breakable items from the immediate area around the shutoff valve. The machine used to thaw your pipes is quite large and heavy.
  • Never use an open flame to thaw a frozen water pipe
  • Never pour anti-freeze or any other product into your water system
  • Keep an emergency drinking water supply
  • Halton Region may provide you a hose to hook up a temporary water supply from a neighbour. The hose will be large enough to accommodate typical residential water demand, however you may experience reduced water pressure.
  • For municipal side service lines with a history of or unclear reason for freezing:
    • Halton Region is insulating or burying lines deeper to avoid frost penetration
    • Expected completion in 2018/19
  • For private side water service lines with a history of freezing:
    • It is the responsibility of the property/home owner to take appropriate similar action to prevent future freezing.

Contact Halton Region

If none of your faucets, showers or toilets have water, your water service line is frozen.