Frozen Water Pipes

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Extreme low temperatures drives frost deep into the ground significantly increasing the risk of your service freezing!

A common cause of a frozen service is no flow for an extended period of time.


Should I be running my water to prevent a frozen pipe?

Unless the City advises you to run your water to prevent the water pipe from freezing, you should not be running your water continuously.

How can I prevent my water pipes from freezing?

Steps to take before winter:

  • Turn off water to outside taps from inside your house.  Leave outside taps slightly open to allow any remaining water to expand when freezing.  Remove and drain hoses.
  • Insulate areas of your home containing water pipes, including crawl spaces, garages and attics.
  • Insulate water pipes (both hot and cold) near the exterior walls, especially those facing north.  Many home improvement stores carry foam sleeves with a lengthwise slit, or bands of insulation that wrap around the pipes.
  • Weather-seal your windows.
  • Check for air leaks around electrical outlets, dryer vents and pipes.  Seal these leaks with caulking or insulation to keep cold air away from your pipes.
  • Know where your control valve is (usually near your water meter).

When winter arrives:

  • Heat areas of your home containing water pipes so that warm air will prevent them from freezing.
  • Set the thermostat no lower than 12°C (55°F) at night and when you are away.
  • If you plan to be away from home, verify your insurer's stipulations for special arrangements. (ex: drain the plumbing, arrange to have your home checked daily to ensure the heat is working).  Damage to indoor plumbing caused by freezing is seen as preventable.  If you do not make these arrangements, you may be responsible for the clean-up bills.  If there is a leak, you will be responsible for the water bill, which can be costly.
  • To prevent your service from freezing while you are away, while someone is checking on your home have them run water through your faucets for ten minutes every couple of days.
  • Keep the garage door closed if there are water pipes inside.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near outside walls.
  • If a pipe freezes and bursts, turn off the control valve immediately.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

You may try to thaw the pipe yourself, or contact a plumber.