Preventing Freezing Pipes
Frozen water services can result from the frost line being pushed below the water line (10’). Without a constant flow of water, pipes can freeze up. Water lines inside the home can also freeze due to extreme wind chill and cold drafts.
The sooner a frozen line is thawed, the better. Over time, freezing will extend further along the line and make thawing more difficult and time-consuming. Here are a few simple tips to protect against freezing pipes.
To Prevent a Frozen Service
Frequently drawing water from the tap, or leaving a small trickle running from a tap, may prevent freezing because it creates a constant flow of water.
Double check your outside hose bibs to ensure they are closed off; if they freeze, they can burst and cause water to drain from your home.
Wrap any water lines near outer walls or doors with insulation. You can also use towels or blankets, secured with duct tape, to help prevent pipes from freezing.
If your hot water tank is located in a maintenance room outside of your home, make sure the area is adequately heated.
If you are going away on vacation, ask the person who is checking in at your home to run the taps for five minutes to reduce the risk of freezing due to low flow in the water service. Running water through the lines in cold weather makes it less likely that they will freeze.
If you have a pool or decorative water feature, turn the motor on and keep the pump running and water circulating.
To determine if a service line is frozen
Customers can assist in diagnosing the problem by turning on all the faucets inside the house and flushing each toilet. If there is no water flowing from any fixture and there is no known water main break in your neighbourhood, it is likely that you have a frozen service line outside your home on your property.
If You Have a Frozen Service
If you have a frozen pipe, it’s important to take the right steps to thaw it to avoid damage to the pipe, line or plumbing system. Never attempt to thaw your line with an open flame. A hair dryer can be used to warm a narrow pipe.
If you are unable to thaw your water lines, contact a plumbing or heating company for assistance.
- As a one-time courtesy, we will assist customers with thawing frozen service lines on private property, depending on the availability of staff. If a service line to a home is confirmed frozen by checking at the water meter, we can attempt to thaw it from inside the home using specialized equipment. If this is unsuccessful, it may require thawing by a hydro-vac or excavation by backhoe, which adds to the repair time.
- If we uncover a leak on private property, we notify the customer and either leave the water service on if there is no issue with public safety or damage, or shut off the service. If the service is left on, the customer has a fixed period of time to complete the repair or the service will be turned off.