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Homeowner responsibilities
Basement flooding
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Cost of leaks
Pipe maintenance

During severe cold spells, homeowners may experience difficulties with frozen water pipes and water meters.

This four minute video provides an overview of how to prevent frozen pipes.

To prevent frozen pipes

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. In the fall, before the first frost, locate your shut-off valve and turn it off. The shut-off valve is located inside your home, close to where your outside taps are.
  2. Disconnect your garden hoses and drain all outside taps.
  3. Go through your home to identify areas where pipes may freeze. This can be in a basement or crawlspace near an outside wall, window, areas that have a draft or near a cracked foundation.
    • Use caulk or insulation to seal these areas keep the cold out and the heat in.
  4. Find your water meter. It is found in the lowest part of your home, in your basement or crawl space. The meter is adjacent to the main water shut-off valve to your home.
  5. Protect your meter by insulating the pipes on either side by applying a low-wattage wrap heater, heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables around the incoming pipe. Use products approved by product safety certification organizations, such as Canadian Standards Association or Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and use them only as intended (exterior or interior).
    • If your meter is located inside a cabinet, leave the doors open to allow warm to reach them
  6. If you are going to be away, turn off the main water shut-off valve and drain your pipes through a sink or tap in the lowest level of your home.
    • Have someone check the house daily to ensure the heat is on and that no problem occurs.
  7. Maintain a consistent temperature of 15 C or 60 F in your home at all times

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To thaw frozen pipes

  1. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe (commonly adjacent to an exterior wall or where the water service enters the home through the foundation).
  2. Leave a cold water tap downstream of the location open, so that when the water begins to flow again, you know the pipe has thawed.
  3. Apply heat to the suspected area (section of pipe) by using one of the following methods:
    • electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe,
    • electric hair dryer,
    • portable heater (be sure not to place near flammable materials.)

If after following these instructions you are unable to thaw the frozen pipe, please contact us for further help.

Revised: Friday January 05 2018


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