With extreme cold temperatures forecast over the coming few weeks, the City of Toronto is reminding residents how to prevent drinking water pipes in their home from freezing. There are also steps that residents can take if they have no water and suspect their pipes are already frozen. Frozen water pipes can lead to significant property damage should they burst. We urge residents to follow these tips, especially if the pipes inside the home are prone to freezing.
Tips to avoid frozen water pipes in the home
- Consider leaving a tap open enough for a pencil-thin stream of flowing water, so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing. Leave a pencil-thin stream flowing 24 hours a day until daytime and nighttime temperatures have returned to normal seasonal averages.
- Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.
- Outdoor faucets are the first to freeze. Unscrew any hoses, turn off the outdoor water supply and let those taps drain.
- Insulate pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, attic and garage.
- If your pipes are prone to freezing, consider contacting a plumber for advice on how best to protect your home.
Steps to thaw frozen pipes
- Turn on a tap in the basement, preferably the cold water faucet in the laundry room.
- Use a blow dryer to warm the suspected frozen pipe for one to two hours. Check the blow dryer regularly to ensure it does not overheat.
- Place a warm towel or rag around the suspected frozen pipe.
- Depending on the outside temperature and the extent of freezing within the pipe, the thawing process could take between one and six hours.