How to make sure your pipes don’t freeze

When negative temperatures hit Calgary, we don’t often think about what this does to our interior pipes. The likelihood of your home’s pipes freezing starts to increase, along with the risk of a pipe bursting. Bursting pipes are one of the most common forms of property damage in winter conditions, often causing water damage of $5,000 or more.

In your home, pipes are most at risk in unheated spaces, like basements, attics and garages. Even pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls can be prone to freezing. Thankfully, there are several ways to ensure your water stays running and your property is protected. Instead of having to clean-up after a burst pipe, deal with your insurance company and lose precious belongings, as a result, try these preventative measures to protect your pipes.

  • Pipe insulation is one way to make sure that they don’t freeze. The cost varies but it can be as little as 50 cents per foot and can be purchased at your local hardware store. Use this liberally around all your unprotected pipes.
  • Keep your garage doors closed at all times.
  • Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom, allowing warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Let cold water drip from a faucet. Even when it’s just a trickle, this keeps water moving through the pipe and helps to prevent freezing.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Do not set the thermostat back to save a few bucks on your heating bill. This could end up costing you even more in plumbing.
  • If you’re going on vacation or will be away from home in the cold weather, leave the heat on at a temperature no lower than 13 degrees Celsius.
  • Consider investing in insulation for your attic, basement or crawl space to help maintain temperatures in these parts of the home.

What Do I Do if my Pipes are Already Frozen?

If you’ve turned on your faucet and you’re only getting a trickle, you may have a frozen pipe on your hands. No need to panic but be careful when thawing it out. If the pipe has already burst, thawing will release the water and instantly flood your home. Turn off the main water valve and apply heat around the pipe. If you cannot locate where your pipe has frozen, consider calling a licensed plumber for further assistance.

Through these precautionary steps, we hope we can help prevent your pipes from freezing this winter. Stay warm Calgary!