Jennifer Bournon
Public Works Administrative Assistant
Municipality of North Perth
330 Wallace Ave. N.,
Listowel, ON N4W 1L3
Map this Location.

Email the Public Works Administrative Assistant

T. 519-292-2067
Toll Free: 888-714-1993
F. 519-291-1804

Frozen Water Pipes

Understanding your water service line

A water service line is the pipe that runs underground from the water main at the street into your home where it connects to the water meter. Water service pipes are owned by you and the Municipality of North Perth:

  • The part that the Municipality owns runs from the water main to shut off valve (curb stop).
  • The part that you own runs from the shut off valve (curb stop) into the home.

Image showing homeowner and municipality responsibility for water line services

Causes of frozen pipes or water service lines

  • Indoor plumbing: inadequate heat inside the home or building (e.g., if the building temperature falls below freezing during an extended blackout, or plumbing is located in an area of the home with insufficient heat, such as a crawlspace or against an outside wall with inadequate insulation).
  • Underground water service lines: an extended period of extreme cold temperature can push the frost line deeper than normal, causing some service lines to freeze.

How can I reduce the risk of frozen water pipes?

  • When the temperature is below freezing, you can leave a cold water tap running at a steady stream of about 6 mm or 1/4 inch (approximate thickness of a drinking straw). Ensure the drain is kept clear of debris to prevent overflowing or flooding.
    • Please note that only those directed to run a tap by the Municipality will be compensated for increased use. Review North Perth's Frozen Water Services Policy for more information. 
  • Leave cupboard doors under your kitchen sink and bathroom sink open if piping is located next to exterior walls. Please take care to remove household cleaners and other items that could harm children or pets while cupboard doors are open.
  • Do not turn your furnace below 13 degrees C (55° F) at night or when the house is vacant.
  • Shut off and drain pipes leading to outside faucets.
  • Wrap foam pipe insulation around pipes most prone to freezing (e.g., near outside walls, crawlspaces, attics, garages).
  • Seal air leaks in your home and garage, especially in areas where pipes are located.
  • If you are away, have someone check your home regularly. If you are leaving your property vacant for the winter months, you are advised to have your water services temporarily shut off.

If Your Pipes Freeze

  • Property owners are responsible for maintaining and replacing water pipes inside their homes or businesses and from the home or business to the property line. This includes responsibility for corrective actions regarding frozen water services.
  • If freezing is confirmed to be private plumbing, then it is the property owner's responsibility to initiate corrective actions. A plumber is recommended for dealing with internal frozen plumbing issues.
    • DO NOT use a torch to thaw a frozen pipe. Too much heat too fast can cause the ice to fracture and rupture the pipe, causing flooding.
  • If you are unsure where the problem is occuring, and it is likely a frozen service issue, contact the Public Works Department:
    • Regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) call (519) 292-2067.
    • After hours emergency call our answering service (519) 291-2940.

Temporary Water Lines

If frozen service is confirmed, a temporary water line may be required.

Temporary water lines are set up using Municipal Approved water line. These 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. 

If the Municipality connects you to a temporary water line from a neighbour's, you must leave one tap running constantly as instructed. Run a drinking straw-wide stream around the clock to ensure your temporary line does not freeze.

Water Meter Billing

North Perth adjusts consumption charges to account for extra water usage if the Municipality notified the property owner by letter to run a tap to prevent Municipal Water Service Pipe from freezing. 

The property owner is responsible for full consumption charges if:

  • Ran a tap to prevent freezing or prevent re-freezing after thawing without direction from the Municipality to do so.
  • If the Municipality has advised the property owner to let their water run and the property owner chooses not to do so, the property owner will be responsible for covering all costs incurred should the water freeze, even if the frozen section occurs in pipes that are on Municipal property.

Please review the Municipality of North Perth Frozen Water Services Policy for detailed information on water meter billing.