Winter can stress pipes and water mains, leading to more leaks and breaks than we typically see during warmer weather. While we don't shut off residential accounts for non-payment in winter, broken water mains aren't the only reason you may lose water service or pressure during cold weather.

Since pipes at homes can also freeze during extended cold stretches, customers often aren’t sure what to do after they turn on the tap and discover there’s no water.

If that happens to you, see which of these situations applies:

Main break, leaking service line, or frozen pipes?

  • You see a leak: Customers can protect their property and help emergency crews by contacting us at (215) 685-6300 if there is a leak in the street. If the pipes in your basement are leaking, call a licensed and registered plumber. A list of approved contractors is available by selecting "Plumber Master" on the L&I website drop-down menu.
  • No water, no visible leak: If your property has no water but you cannot see a leak, first ask neighbors on your block if they have water at the tap. If only you lost water, the pipes may be frozen and you should see the tips for dealing with frozen pipes posted here. Note: PWD cannot fix frozen or burst pipes on your property. See what you're responsible for here: Customer Responsibilities: Plumbing
  • Many properties do not have water: call the hotline above to see if a water main break needs to be reported. Read about how we respond to main breaks here.
  • Notice of Defect? If our investigators trace a leak to a broken service line or sewer lateral on your property, you will get a Notice of Defect. While you or your landlord must make repairs, there are options to consider before hiring a Master Plumber. Read about help you can get to make emergency repairs and options to guard yourself against bearing the full cost of a service line replacement on our Notice of Defect Fact Sheet.
Check out this handy guide for more winter tips and avoid cold-weather plumbing damage:

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If snow is in the forecast. check out our #PHLSnow blog for tips about shoveling, salt, and more. Customers can also see our posts on Facebook and Twitter for more recent information.


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