There’s no water at my tap. Now what?

First, ask a neighbor if they have water.

illustration of Drippy (a cartoon being whose head is shaped like a water droplet) bundled up with a scarf, boots, and gloves, standing by the stoop of a Philly row home, talking to a neighbor who is just leaning their water-drop-shaped head out the door.

If they don’t have water, it may be the result of a water main break.

But if they do have running water, it’s likely your pipes have frozen.

What if your pipes have frozen?

DO: heat the area around the pipes 
(First panel of the illustration shows a hair dryer running near a pipe but angled away from it, with a green check mark.)
DON'T apply direct heat to the pipes.
(Second panel shows a hair dryer blowing directly at a pipe, with a red no symbol.)
  • Make sure the faucet is turned on so melting water can drip out
  • After pipes thaw, look for damage. Check your pipes and the meter. If the meter is leaking, call (215) 685-6300.

If a pipe is damaged:

Shut off the water. Use the house-side valve, near your water meter.

Illustration showing a water meter near an external wall with pipe and knobs on either side. Arrows indicate the direction water flows, in from the main under the street, through the wall, through the meter, and to the rest of the home. The knob on the home side, after the meter, is partially encircled by an arrow pointing clockwise, labeled SHUT OFF.

A licensed plumber must make repairs.

The Philadelphia Water Department is not responsible for your pipes, even if they are outside of your home.

We know broken pipes can be a nightmare.
But we cannot fix your pipes.

illustration of a service-body pickup (with external storage compartments around the truck bed) with a cap displaying a sideways plunger.

See a list of licensed contractors: www.phila.gov/li

Calling our hotline when your pipes break can waste time needed to secure a plumber and ties up city resources needed to respond to emergencies.

Low temps predicted? You can prepare!

Take action when the forecast calls for temperatures below 32°F!

Let faucet run at a trickle overnight during extremely cold weather.

Keep water meter area above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.

The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.

These tips cost only a few pennies. That’s a fraction of a plumbing repair bill!

Winterize your home to avoid a nightmare repair bill.

Find your shut off valves before there’s an emergency!

simple cutaway diagram of the bottom of a home with the basement and water supply pipe seen underground. in the basement, you can see the water meter with dots on either side indicating shutoff valves. the one farther from the wall where the water supply enters the basement is circled and labeled HOUSE SIDE VALVE

They’re usually near the water meter. In emergencies, use the house-side valve to shut off your water supply.

illustration of the end of a section of row homes, where part of one can be seen with lights in the windows, but the one fully in view is all dark.

Vacant Property?

If you plan to be away from home or own a property that is vacant during cold weather, drain and winterize your home plumbing system.

a pipe is shown, end-on, with a split tube of gray insulating foam forming a C shape around it

Wrap and insulate all water pipes in unheated areas, like your basement. Pay close attention to pipes near exterior walls, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.

illustration of a pane of glass with several cracks in it. snow is visible on the ground outside.

Repair or replace broken exterior windows. Cover windows with plastic and caulk windows near water meters and pipes. When cold air blows on a pipe, it increases the risk of freezing.

illustration of an outdoor water spigot, with a coil of garden hose next to it, not connected to the faucet.

Disconnect garden hoses and shut off the outdoor water supply. Most outdoor faucets have a dedicated shutoff valve inside; use that valve, and leave the outside faucet open to drain the remaining section of pipe.

Watch this how-to video!
click to watch video