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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What to do if your pipes burst

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

Broken Pipe gushing water Don't let this happen, take preauction and be safe!

Winter is here! I know you have all felt the chill in the air and seen your breath in the mornings. Portland and its surrounding areas are unique weather-wise in that we get all four seasons every year, but sometimes we fly through a season so fast it barely feels like we even had one.

Case in point, did we have a fall this year? It feels like we went straight from temperatures of 90 or more during the summer directly to what we are experiencing now, which is cold, frost, ice and snow.

Although southern and central Oregon certainly get the worst of the weather, we are no slouches in our area. The Portland Water Bureau has put out some fantastic tips for Protecting Your Home’s Plumbing During Winter:


  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the home.
  • Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with wood or StyrofoamTM blocks.
  • Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation if you do not have a separate outside valve to turn them off. Use molded foam-insulating covers which are available at hardware stores. Newspaper or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option. 
  • Disconnect garden hoses and drain in-ground irrigation systems.


  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, crawl spaces and basements.
  • When below-freezing weather is forecast, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
  • If you leave home for several days, put your furnace on a low setting. This may not prevent freezing pipes, but it can help.
  • Let a slight drip of water run when temperatures dip below freezing. Use cold water to avoid water heating charges.


  • Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.
  • Do not open the water meter box near the curb. It could increase the chance of freezing water at the meter.


  • Close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shutoff valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
  • Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold-water inlet.

Remember, SERVPRO of SE Portland and SE & NE Salem is here to help you whatever your needs may be! Be safe, keep your home secure and call us in case of an emergency.

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