Frosty weather can seriously damage your pipes. With our tips, you can avoid frozen pipes, react quickly if a problem arises and avoid unpleasant surprises this winter.
Prevention: Simple steps to take
Before it gets cold
- Locate your service line inside the building and make sure it’s easy to access.
- Make sure the air temperature around your service line is at least 10 degrees Celsius.
- Insulate pipes that are the most likely to freeze, particularly those near outdoor walls, crawl spaces, attics and garages. You can use foam pipe covers (available in hardware and home renovation stores).
- Seal drafts in your home and garage to keep cold air from getting in.
- Check pipes that are around windows, doors, electrical wires and the dryer ventilation hose.
- Unhook watering hoses, shut off outdoor faucets and remember to drain them before the first freeze.
During the winter
- Keep kitchen cupboard and bathroom doors open to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.
- When you are away, have someone you trust check your house regularly.
- Leave a stream of water running at all times to make sure water is circulating through the pipe, which will help keep it from freezing. However, be sure that your drain is not clogged in order to avoid water damage.
If you turn on your faucet and there is little or no water, your pipes have probably frozen. You must act immediately to keep your pipes from freezing.
What do I do if my pipes freeze?
Did your pipes freeze despite your best efforts? Here are some tips to get them to thaw and work normally.
- Turn on the faucet.
- Locate the frozen zone of the pipe that leads to the faucet. It may be frosted or frozen; it may be swollen or cracked as well.
- Warm the frozen area with a hair dryer, place a space heater near the frozen part of the pipe or use electrical heating tape.
If these techniques don’t work or the frozen pipe is located outside the building, find out how to report frozen pipes.