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What You Should Know About Frozen Water Pipes This Winter

Updated: Aug 14

Everyone knows that when it freezes, water turns from a liquid to a solid. But it also expands, and this is what causes pipes to burst during cold winter temperatures in provinces such as Alberta. Besides the headache of cleanup, broken water pipes can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your property.

The good thing is that there are a few simple things you can do to prevent frozen water pipes and measures to take if you find yourself in that position. Keep reading this week’s blog to learn more!

a frozen pipe in edmonton

How to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

When the temperature in and around Edmonton dips below freezing, you should really start thinking about the potential for your pipes to freeze. When it starts to drop down below -6°C, then you really have to worry…but don’t wait until the cold sets in before you do anything!

Basic Precautions

Drain all external lines, including irrigation piping and garden hoses. These are the most likely to freeze in cold weather.

If you have a home or vacant property that you are away from for long periods of time during the winter months, turn off the main water valve to your property. Then, turn on every faucet in the house. This drains all water from interior lines.

Another preventative measure is to allow water faucets to drip. Start a very slow one with the hot water side, then open the cold water side to a slightly faster drip. Even a small dribble will be enough to keep water moving through the pipes and prevent them from freezing.


Building Precautions

Interior pipes most susceptible to freezing are ones in your garage, basement, and attic. Use caulking or spray foam to seal up cracks or holes in these areas, to keep cold air from getting in.

Insulating pipes with foam, rummer, or fibreglass is an inexpensive measure you can take yourself. For hard-to-reach areas, such as inside walls, you’re going to want to hire a professional. The upfront cost of protecting vulnerable pipes from the cold may save you a lot of headache, and money, down the road.

You also might consider installing a hot water recirculation valve. These devices distribute warm water through your pipes at regular intervals. They are powered by convection, so even if you lose power it will continue working.


How Frozen Pipes Can be Fixed

The most important thing you can do is look for symptoms that pipes are beginning to freeze, such as a lack of warm water coming out of your faucets when you turn them on.

If you think your pipes have frozen, keep your faucets open during the thawing, so that it can release any steam and water. For pipes that you can access, wrap a heating pad or hot towels around the frozen section that. You can also use a hairdryer on it.

Depending on the area where the pipe is frozen, a space heater may be suitable. But you should never use open flames or powerful tools like blowtorches or heaters since these can cause significant damage to your pipes.

If you do discover burst pipes, immediately turn off the main water supply to your home. Then, open the faucet to the affected pipe, to release any water that may still be in there.

Next, contact a licensed plumber to address the problem. And be sure to file a homeowners insurance claim as soon as possible.


Keep Your Pipes in Working Order – All Year Round!

Now that you have an idea of how to prevent frozen water pipes, you take these basic steps to ensure the integrity of your home. Prevention is key, but if you find yourself with burst water pipes, contact a trained professional as soon as possible.

Modern Air and Water has been serving the Edmonton area since 1976. We can help you solve any plumbing issue but also recommend steps for beefing up pipes in your home.

We can identify the piping most susceptible to freezing and assist in installing insulating components. You can have the peace of mind that your pipes, and your water supply, are not left out in the cold. Contact us today!

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