How to prevent your pipes from freezing

Well Calgary, it’s about time this cold weather showed up. We know it’s coming each winter, but that doesn’t mean it ever gets any easier. With the below-freezing temperatures, we have to be careful how we treat our homes in order to keep them in tip-top shape. As the temperatures dip, it’s important to keep an eye on your pipes, as this is prime time for them to burst or freeze. A burst pipe in the winter can cost you upwards of $5,000 in water damage, so it’s worth avoiding the problem altogether.

When checking your house, the pipes that are most at risk are those in unheated, or low-heat, spaces; this includes places like your garage, storage rooms, outer walls, attics, basements, etc. There are simple steps you can follow to help your pipes stay safe over the winter, as long as you’re aware of the possibilities. Simple pipe insulation is cost-effective and an affordable option to keep your pipes from freezing in these low temperatures. This can be installed by yourself, or by a professional.

Other than pipe insulation, there are plenty of tips out there to help you avoid a costly bill this winter due to a pipe bursting or backing up. It is recommended that you keep your garage doors closed as much as possible so that any uninsulated pipes are not exposed to more cold than they need to be. On the contrary, leave your bathroom and kitchen cabinets open to allow warm air to flow in and out of them; this allows any exterior wall pipes to stay warm and toasty thanks to your furnace. Leaving your thermostat at the same temperature morning and night will maintain a particular temperature, instead of dropping dangerously low overnight while sleeping in the hopes of saving a few bucks. If there’s a sink you’re worried about, leave the tap dripping ever so slightly so that water is continually running through it – this will keep your pipe from freezing.

If you’re unlucky enough to have a pipe freeze, don’t fret; there are ways to safely thaw your pipe in the event that it did not already burst. If you go to turn on a tap and either nothing or only a trickle comes out, you may have a frozen pipe. The first check that is has not burst, and once this is confirmed, turn the tap on so that running water can start melting the ice. Next, apply heat to the frozen section of the pipe. You can do this with an electric heating pad, space heater, blow dryer, whatever works to get that pipe warmed up. Caution: do not use any device with an open flame. Next, apply heat to the pipe until it is fully melted, and your water pressure has returned.

If you’re uncomfortable with this process or you think your pipe has burst, call a professional plumber and they will assist you with all your pipe needs.