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Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

The pipes in your home can freeze in cold weather. This can leave you with no water or cause your pipes and/or your water meter to burst, leading to expensive property damage. Take steps to protect your pipes and water meter from freezing. Preventing pipes and the meter from freezing is easier than trying to thaw them.

Before winter

  • Turn off the water to outside taps from inside your house, remove hoses and drain your sprinkler system properly. If you are unsure how to do this, contact a plumber to show you how to properly drain your system.
  • Insulate areas of your home containing water pipes, including crawl spaces, garages and attics.
  • Insulate both hot and cold water pipes 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 the location of your water shut-off valve, it’s near your water meter. Keep the name and number of a qualified plumber on hand in case of emergency.

 

During winter 

  • 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. Ensure the area where pipes are near exterior walls and the area near your water meter does not fall below 5°C (41°F).
  • Keep the garage door closed if there are water pipes inside.
  • Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • If a pipe freezes and bursts, turn off the water shut-off valve immediately. 
  • If leaving for longer than a 24-hour period, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and open the taps to drain the water from your plumbing lines. Have someone check your home daily to ensure the heat is working.
 
What to do if you have no water