As we all know, winter is coming whether we like it or not. The cold winter months will undoubtedly put major stress on your home, particularly when it comes to your water pipes. Frozen pipes are a serious threat that can affect any Canadian home during the winter. Not only can the issue leave you without water, a frozen pipe could lead to an even bigger inconvenience: burst pipes.
Unlike most substances which contract when they freeze, water expands. That water expanding causes enormous pressure within any container holding it, including pipes. When you get a burst pipe it usually involves a messy clean-up, and potentially expensive property damages.
But there are preventative measures you as a homeowner can take in order to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking during those long cold winter months, and how to thaw them out when they get frozen anyway.
Any temperature that is below 0 degrees is cause for concern; carefully monitor weather updates from TV, radio or social media for advisories concerning freezing temperatures. If you have pipes from the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room located near an exterior wall, you should leave the cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate around them. Warm air circulation can also be achieved by using tools such as fans.
Turning the tap to a slow drip during extreme cold snaps helps to prevent water from freezing and to relieve pressure if the water does freeze. Faucets should not be left unattended during such temperatures and if you do not have a water leak sensor, having someone home to keep an eye on it will help.
But what do you do if you’ve decided to take an extended vacation for more than just a few days? It is best to shut off the main water valve and drain the remaining water from the pipes. You also need to keep the thermostat at a temperature of 15 degree Celsius or above to prevent freezing. You can also pour antifreeze into the bath drain, toilet, and sink to be extra safe. Finally, having someone of reasonably sound judgment to come over every day to check your pipes in order to mitigate any damage or prevent any that might occur.
Some diligence and common sense can go a long way to ensure your property is safe during the freezing winter months and can provide you with peace of mind while you’re away.