Storm Ready: Preventing Frozen Pipes

Power outages can put you at risk of frozen pipes in the winter due to extreme temperatures. It can lead to costly repairs to address any water damage, causing as much as 250 gallons of water to leak a day for every 1/8-inch crack.

If you have city/municipal water…

You can prevent frozen pipes during an outage by:

  • Letting all your faucets drip until power is restored.
  • Turning off the water at the main shut-off valve, then draining the remaining water in your water system from the lowest point in your home to ensure most of the water is cleared from your pipes. When power is restored, turn on the main valve and let each tap run until water fills your pipes again.
  • Keep any outside valves open so that any water remaining in the pipe is able to expand without breaking the pipe.

A sure sign of frozen pipes is low water pressure. If you turn on your faucet tap and only a trickle comes out or if there is no pressure, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and call a licensed plumber immediately.

If you have well water…

You won’t have access to additional running water during an outage since your well pump will not be operational. You can prevent frozen pipes by:

  • Turning off the water at the main shut-off valve, then draining the remaining water in your water system from the lowest point in your home to ensure most of the water is cleared from your pipes. When power is restored, turn on the main valve and let each tap run until water fills your pipes again.
  • Insulating exposed water pipes to protect them from the cold.

Once your power is restored

  • Set your thermostat no lower than 55at all times
  • Keep your garage door closed to stop temperatures from declining further in your home.

If you’re going on a prolonged trip, it is recommended by Michigan State Police to turn off the water at the main valve using the instructions above.

Get more outage safety tips by visiting ConsumersEnergy.com/outage.