Cold Weather Tips


Winter in the Baltimore region can be harsh, but there are many things you can do to make the season less problematic.  When the cold, snow and ice arrive, please follow these tips to make sure you, your family and your home remain safe.

  • Severe weather always has the potential to interrupt power to our water pumping stations.  Always keep on hand a three day supply of bottled water; one gallon per person per day.
  • Trash and recycling collections may be canceled if weather conditions warrant.  Check our website,, follow us on Facebook (Baltimore City Department of Public Works), Twitter (@BaltimoreDPW), (Baltimore City Department of Public Works) and stay tuned to local media for updates on changes to regularly scheduled pickups and collection locations and other DPW notifications.
  • If your curbside trash/recycling pickup coincides with plowing activities, make sure your trash can and recycling bin are well behind the curb so the plow will not hit them.
  • Always sweep your alleys, sidewalks and gutters before a storm to keep trash from entering our storm drains. It is also important to clear the snow from the storm drain inlet near your home or business. Blocked drains can lead to flooding as snow melts.
  • Clear snow from around fire hydrants near your home/business to make them visible for our firefighters.


Pipes and utility meters can freeze when the temperature remains below 25 degrees for extended periods of time. We offer the following tips to help protect water lines during periods of cold weather:

  • Let a thin stream of cold water run from a basement faucet. The stream should be a continuous flow, about the thickness of a pencil lead. This water can be caught in a bucket and used later.
  • If your interior pipe is frozen, warm it with hot air from a blow dryer where it enters your house.
  • Be sure you know the location of the water shutoff valve in your home. Check it periodically to ensure it works properly.
  • Be sure to shut off water to outside faucets.
  • Monitor your sump pump. A frozen drain pipe could result in a flooded basement.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated parts of your house. Be alert if you have had frozen pipes in the past.
  • Keep bottled water on hand.
  • Consider getting a service protection policy for your exterior water/sewer lines. Baltimore has partnered with HomeServe USA to provide this low cost protection. Please visit

The Department of Public Works maintains outdoor water lines up to and including the meter. Water lines running from the meter to the house, and internal plumbing, are the responsibility of the property owner. For water emergencies in Baltimore City, please call 311or 410-396-5352 in our Baltimore County service area.