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Frozen Services: What To Do?

If Your Pipes or Service Freezes

Property owners are responsible for maintaining and replacing water pipes inside their home or business, and from the building to the property line. The City of London is responsible for the water service within the public right-of-way.

If you believe you have a frozen pipe or service, your first step is to try to determine if it is your indoor (household) plumbing that has frozen, or if the problem is coming from outside. Try running different cold water taps throughout your home. If even one tap has running water, your issue is likely internal. You should call a plumber or see the tips on indoor plumbing care below.

If you find that all water service to your home has stopped, or you aren’t sure where the problem is, contact the City of London. The Water Operations Division will work with you to determine where your pipes have frozen. This may include a visit to your home or business.

Tenants having problems with frozen water pipes must advise their landlords if they contact the City for support.

Temporary water lines

If you have a frozen water service the City may temporarily connect you to your neighbour via a temporary water line. Temporary water lines are set up using potable water grade hoses. These are run from a neighbour’s house to yours, usually between outdoor taps. These lines provide a temporary, running water supply until a frozen pipe thaws. They may be in place for a few days, or up to a couple months, depending on the severity of the situation. If the City connects you to a temporary water line from a neighbour, you will be required to leave one tap running constantly as instructed (preferably a faucet at your laundry tub). Run a pencil width stream continuously to ensure your temporary line does not freeze. If you do not do this the temporary line will freeze, leaving you with no water once again.

Temporary water lines are the easiest, quickest and least expensive method of restoring water when you have a frozen service. When a temporary line is needed the City will initiate contact with your neighbours in order to find a donor. If there is no suitable neighbour, or none are willing to provide a temporary connection, you will be provided with a temporary container filled with water to allow for flushing of toilets, cleaning, etc. as well as bottled water for drinking.

When the City installs a temporary water line between you and a neighbour, both of you will be set up to only pay for the minimum monthly water and sewer bill. No consumptive charges will be applied to either account. The City is doing this to help alleviate the inconvenience of having a frozen service and to ensure that you continue to run a pencil-sized stream of water from a faucet continuously.

Is the water through the temporary line potable?

The City of London uses potable water grade material for the temporary lines. The lines are flushed in our shop prior to being brought out to site. Once connected the line is flushed out once more. The temporary line will not have a detrimental effect on the water quality and therefore, the water is potable.

Who pays for a temporary line?

If the water service has frozen there will be no cost to the property owner to have a temporary line installed.

If the frozen service is entirely within private property, such as the case with condominiums and townhouses, the City will not supply a temporary line, nor will minimum monthly billing be provided to those customers who chose to run a faucet to prevent a freezing. In these situations, all remediation efforts will be up entirely to the property owner, Condominium Corporation, etc.

Can I install my own temporary line?

No. The City will make every effort to address your frozen service as quickly as possible. There are health and safety issues that may arise if the wrong material and/or improper technique are used, so the City does not encourage you to install your own temporary line. In addition, private temporary lines will not be eligible for the minimum monthly billing accommodation, and those installing them will be responsible for all costs for running and using water.