With the cold winter months not far away, do you know if your home’s pipes are prepared to endure the freezing weather? If you live in a super cold area, then you know how frustrating it is to have a pipe freeze or burst during the winter. While having the number to an emergency plumber in Toronto is a good idea, you should learn how to prep for and deal with frozen pipes, to avoid a disaster altogether.
How to prevent frozen pipes during the winter
In places where the temperature can dip to or go below freezing, you must prep your pipes to prevent them from freezing—both indoor and outdoor pipes are at risk.
Get familiar with your home’s pipes and plumbing, and know where your water main and water heater valves are located in the event an emergency shut-off is needed. Show a trusted neighbor where these valves are too just in case you are not home if a pipe break occurs. For easy reference, you should also create a visual on-paper diagram of all your pipes and faucets.
Start by disconnecting garden hoses and placing protective weather covers on all faucets. For outside walls and areas where the heat doesn’t reach, it will be beneficial to insulate permanently or temporarily where pipes run through. Take advantage of pipe insulation or a heating tape to wrap around pipes in crawl spaces and pipes near cold exterior walls.
Having the inside and basement temperature set to at least 68-degrees will help prevent pipes from freezing—so will opening sink cabinet doors to let heat circulate near plumbing areas. For any season, but especially winter, it would behoove you to inspect weather seals around doors that lead to the outside as well as around all windows. If your home is not weather sealed, take it into serious consideration to do so—this can save your pipes from additional cold exposure, while keeping the winter heating bill down.
What to do if you encounter a frozen or burst pipe
Despite all your efforts, you have a frozen pipe. If this happens, turn off the home’s water supply, then try thawing it by using a decent hair dryer, heat lamp or a space heater. Alternatively, you can use hot towels soaked in heated water off the stove. Carefully wring out the towel and wrap around the frozen sections of the pipe.
But, sometimes a frozen pipe is too plugged up and you need professional help before matters get worse—some companies, like the folks at Rooter Group Inc., have an electric thaw machine specifically for use on copper pipes.
There’s always the possibility of a pipe bursting. Before matters get really bad, immediately shut off the main water valve to minimize flooding, or close off the water heater valve if the burst is a hot water pipe, call a 24 hour plumber in Toronto and get to drying out the area the best you can to prevent mold from forming.
Save your home’s pipes from freezing or bursting this winter by inspecting and prepping those pipes early!