Steps to Prepare Your Pipes for Cold Weather

  • Unscrew hoses, turn off the outdoor water supply and allow the taps to drain before the first freeze – because burst water pipes waste water and can cause expensive damage.
  • Insulate pipes that are most susceptible to freezing with foam pipe covers available at building supply or home improvement stores. This includes pipes attached to uninsulated walls and in crawl spaces and the attic, and outdoor pipes that may be exposed.  
  • For commercial customers - protect fire lines by wrapping all lines exposed to the cold.

 What to do when the temperature drops well below zero:

  • Consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • If leaving for an extended period of time, turn the water off at the main service valve in the basement and open the taps to drain the water from your plumbing lines.

If you have no water – How to thaw frozen water pipes in your home

Important precautions:

  • Do not use a torch with an open flame to thaw pipes, as this is a fire hazard.
  • Ensure you know the location of your master water shut-off valve. The frozen pipe may be broken and when the water in it thaws, it will leak. If the pipe is broken, you will need to shut off the water in your house until the pipe is repaired.

Steps to thaw a frozen pipe

  • 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 or two hours. Check 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.

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, contact 311 to submit a service request and someone from the City will come to investigate.