Frozen Pipes: What You Need to Know this Winter

Preventing pipes from freezing, Hamilton Ontario
As we head towards another winter season, it is important to take the right steps and prepare your home for the cold temperatures. Frozen pipes are a common household problem that can be avoided with a little foresight and preparation.

What problems do frozen pipes cause?

As water freezes, it expands, placing pressure on whatever it is being contained by or carried through. In the case of pipes, both metal and plastic pipes can break from pressure. Pipes that are most exposed to the temperatures, such as outdoor swimming pool supply lines, or supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements and garages, are the most susceptible to freezing. Those that are located against exterior walls with little or no insulation are also vulnerable to freezing.

How can you prevent pipes from freezing?

Take some time before the temperatures drop to prepare your pipes for the season.

  • Drain water – Follow the manufacturer’s directions to drain your swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines. Make sure you drain and store outdoor hoses, drain outdoor valves and leave them open so that any remaining water can expand without breaking the pipes.
  • Insulate vulnerable pipes – Check your home for water supply lines that are located in unheated areas. The basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and kitchen and bathroom cabinets are common areas where pipes are prone to freezing. Hot and cold water pipes should both be insulated. Consider products that are designed to insulate water pipes. “Pipe sleeves,” or UL-listed “heat tape,” may be useful for exposed water pipes. Newspaper may also be used to provide additional protection.
  • When the temperature drops, use doors – Leave garage doors closed as much as possible if there are water supply lines in the garage. Open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so that pipes can be exposed to warmer air.
  • Keep the thermostat steady – Leave your thermostat temperature the same during the day and at night. When it is very cold, maintaining a steady temperature through the day and night can limit the risk of pipes freezing and bursting. If you are leaving town, do not shut the heat off.

What should you do if your pipes freeze?

If your pipes freeze, it can be tempting to try to thaw them on your own. Thawing pipes should be done with caution and it is usually best to call in an expert. It is crucial to locate the exact area of freezing and properly thaw it in order to minimize the damage.

If you face a problem with frozen pipes this winter, our plumbers in the Hamilton area can help. Our team of experienced plumbers provide fast and dependable plumbing services in Burlington, Hamilton, Oakville and surrounding areas. Schedule your appointment by calling us at 1-800-499-4184 or contact us online.