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Frozen water pipes

Costs of thawing services and running water

To request thawing services, please contact 311.

What's the cost of thawing services?

If the pipe is frozen on the:

  • City's portion of the water pipe, we provide thawing service at no charge to the property owner,
  • property owner's portion of the water pipe, the property owner is responsible for the cost of City thawing services. City thawing service rates are listed on the City of Winnipeg’s online utility billing service, MyUtilityBill. You have the option of hiring a contractor to provide this service. Contractors will need to coordinate with the City depending on the thawing approach used (for example City removal of the meter to allow contractor access to the service pipe, or City connection to the curb stop to allow electrical thawing).
What's the cost of running water to prevent a thawed pipe from refreezing?

After we thaw a pipe that was frozen, we recommend running one of your cold water taps all the time to prevent the water pipe from freezing.

The flow should be about as thick as a drinking straw, about enough to fill a four litre pail (e.g., ice cream) in four minutes.

If the pipe was frozen on the:

  • property owner's portion of the water pipe, you are responsible to pay the full amount of the water and sewer charges.
  • City's portion of the water pipe, we will credit the water bill up to a maximum of 1.5 cubic metres per day (1,500 litres).

You are required to ensure we have two water meter readings – one at the time we advise you to start running water, and one when we advise you to stop running water. If you are eligible for a credit and you haven't provided these readings, you will be billed for the full amount of the water and sewer charges.

How does the City determine where a water pipe is frozen?
Step 1 – Thawing the property's portion of the pipe

The crew will use thawing equipment on the portion of the water pipe between the building and the shut-off valve (usually at or near the property line).

Before we thaw, you will be asked to sign our authorization form and assume responsibility for the cost of the thawing service if the pipe is frozen on this portion of the pipe.

If the water begins to flow, the pipe was frozen on the property owner's portion of the water pipe.

Step 2 – Thawing the rest of the pipe

If the water didn't start flowing, the pipe is frozen on the portion of the pipe between the shut-off valve and the water main.

This section of the pipe is the City's responsibility (unless it's a property other than a single-family residential property – see below) and the crew will thaw the pipe.

Properties other than single-family residential properties

If the property has a fire protection service or uses the water for purposes other than domestic use, the property owner owns this pipe and can either:

  • hire a contractor to provide this service, and be responsible for all costs. Contractors will need to coordinate with the City depending on the thawing approach used (for example City removal of the meter to allow contractor access to the service pipe, or City connection to the curb stop to allow electrical thawing).
  • can choose to sign our authorization form and pay for City thawing service.

Otherwise, we will thaw this pipe using the steps above, once someone has signed our authorization form and assume responsibility for the cost of the thawing service if the pipe is frozen on the property owner's portion of the pipe.

Last updated: October 4, 2018

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