Repairing Frozen / Ruptured Water Lines in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and North Liberty

Considering our frigid Iowa winters, repairing frozen / ruptured water lines is a critical topic. We’ve fixed our share of broken water pipes over the years, and witnessed the damage done when emergency services are called too late. Before we go any further, take this advice–if you fear your water lines may have already ruptured, please call us immediately. We are happy to help customers and offer 24-hour emergency service.

Quick facts:

  • When water freezes, it expands as much as 10%
  • Expanding ice creates tremendous pressure inside water lines
  • Pipes (no matter what kind) can only swell so far before rupturing
  • Ruptured pipes will leak water (or spray) once the ice blockage thaws
  • Extensive damage can result when this occurs in finished living spaces

Basics of repairing frozen / ruptured water lines:


  • Identify frozen pipes
    • Water isn’t flowing, toilets aren’t refilling
    • Frost or budges can be seen on exposed pipes
  • Turn off the water supply to the frozen pipe
    • (Note: if you can’t do this, call us for assistance)
    • [24 hour service: (319) 622-3636]
  • Have towels, mop, bucket handy
  • If the frozen area is small, use a space heater or hair dryer to gradually thaw it
    • Never use a torch or an open flame
  • Carefully turn on the water supply halfway (max) and check for leaks


  • Once water begins to flow again, pay close attention for any leaks
    • Water spraying from pipes
    • Drywall becoming wet
    • Ceilings dripping
  • If you observe any leaks, immediately shut off the water supply again
  • At this point, call for assistance! [24 hour service: (319) 622-3636]
  • We can inspect your water lines and repair any ruptured sections we find.

Tips for preventing frozen / ruptured water lines:

  • Always keep thermostat above 60 degrees during winter months
  • Any exposed pipes in unheated areas (garaged, attics, crawlspaces, etc.) must be insulated
  • Consider adding extra insulation, as appropriate, to these areas
  • Shut off all water supplies to outside spigots during cold months
  • During very cold weather, leave cabinet doors open under sinks
  • During extremely cold weather, leave a slight trickle of water dripping from faucets

Thank you for reading.

Until next time…

Mike20131-225x300Take care.

Mike Even, Sump Pump Expert





If your home is within our service area (50 miles or so around Amana, Tiffin, Fairfax, Williamsburg, etc.), and you need any help with your plumbing (including 24/7 emergency plumbing service), please do not hesitate to give us a call.

 Cedar Rapids

Iowa City
North Liberty


We are licensed, certified, and well-trained in all aspects of residential and commercial plumbing.