Though when the mercury plummets, it can cause plumbing pipes to freeze and possibly burst. If this happens, it can cause flooding to occur in your home and lead to severe water damage. Follow these preventative measures to ensure your pipes stay warm and work efficiently during the coldest months of the year.
1. Turn off outdoor water supply
Any outdoor plumbing is most likely the first to freeze in frigid conditions. To avoid this, be sure to turn off all outdoor water supplies, including garden hoses. A frozen garden hose can significantly contribute to a bursting pipe because when the water in a hose freezes, it will expand. This will put extra pressure on the plumbing system.
2. Leave the heat on
This is especially important if you plan to be away from your home for a long period of time. Heat is one of the best ways to keep the pipes warm and prevent frozen pipes. If you are travelling during winter, set the thermostat in your home to no lower than 12°C. You could also ask a neighbour or a close relative to visit your house and see if it’s warm enough to prevent frozen pipes.
3. Let faucets drip
Another tip to prevent frozen pipes, is to let a faucet drip. A slow drip will help relieve any excessive pressure from building up in the plumbing system and create a consistent flow of water, which decreases the risk of frozen pipes. If you find the dripping has stopped, leave the faucet on. A pipe may have frozen and could still use relief from pressure.
4. Add extra insulation
Any extra longterm insulation to basements, attics, crawl spaces, walls and ceilings will provide more warmth to pipes located in those areas. If you take a trip to your local hardware store, you can find insulation sleeves for pipes made of foam rubber and fiberglass. This can also help limit the possibility of frozen pipes. The more insulation you have in your home, the better.
If you find a pipe has burst in your home, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve, and leave the faucets turned on. For instructions on how to shut off the main water supply, read our Desjardins Prevention Advisors tip sheet. Call a plumber as soon as possible. Be sure to review your home insurance policy to see if frozen or broken pipes are covered.
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