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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Welcome to the official web site of the City of Portland, Oregon

General Information: 503-823-4000


1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 110, Portland, OR 97204

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Be prepared for cold weather

February 6, 2014

Bitterly cold temperatures and chilling winds can cause pipes to freeze – which can damage your property. The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) has some tips to help you protect your home:

  • Make sure that hot and cold pipes are insulated in unheated areas, such as the garage or attic.
  • Keep cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms open to allow pipes behind walls and under floors to get additional heat from inside of your home.
  • Outside of your home, disconnect and drain hoses from faucets.
  • Use insulating covers to wrap faucets and backflow assemblies.
  • Cover foundation vents with foam blocks, thickly folded newspaper, or cardboard.

You can figure out if a pipe is frozen by turning on all the faucets in your home.  If one does not work, then it may be frozen.  To thaw plumbing lines safely, you can use a hair dryer or a heat lamp (do not use an open flame).  To prevent the pipe from freezing again, make sure to leave the water running a little bit.

It’s also important to know where the shut-off valve is in your home.  Most shut-off valves can be found in the crawl space, basement, or garage, where the water line from the meter enters the home.  It may also be found outside of the house near the foundation, protected by a concrete ring or a clay pipe.

If you have a water emergency, Portland Water Bureau Maintenance & Construction crews are ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But note that frozen pipes inside your home or between the water meter and your home, cannot be fixed by Portland Water Bureau. 

Portland Water Bureau is available to respond to questions or concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (503) 823-4874.