Maintain your water pipes to avoid costly repairs
When water freezes, it expands. This can cause your water pipes to burst.
Taking care of your water pipes and meter can help prevent frozen pipes.
Steps to preventing frozen indoor pipes
Take these steps to avoid frozen pipes:
- In the fall, before the first frost, find your water shut-off valve and turn it off. The water shut-off valve is inside, close to where your outside taps come into your home.
- After you’ve closed your outside shut-off valve, unscrew your garden hoses. Open your outside taps to drain them.
- Look for places where your inside pipes could freeze, such as:
- Your basement.
- A crawlspace.
- Near an outside wall or window.
- Places near a cracked foundation.
Be sure to use these products only as directed. Also check to see it has safety certification such as the Canadian Standards Association or Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
More tips to prevent freezing pipes
Keep the temperature in your home no lower than 15 C (60 F). If your water meter in a cabinet, leave the doors open so warm air can reach the meter.
If you’ll be away from your home for a long time:
- Turn off the main water shut-off valve in your basement or crawlspace.
- Drain your pipes through a sink or tap in the lowest level of your home.
- Have someone check your house daily to ensure the heat is on there are no water-related problems.
During severe cold spells, homeowners may experience difficulties with frozen water pipes and water meters.
To thaw frozen pipes
- Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe (commonly adjacent to an exterior wall or where the water service enters the home through the foundation).
- Leave a cold water tap downstream of the location open, so that when the water begins to flow again, you know the pipe has thawed.
- Apply heat to the suspected area (section of pipe) by using one of the following methods:
- electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe,
- electric hair dryer
If you are not able to locate the frozen pipe, or are unsure of what to do, contact a licensed plumber.