Insurance Agents Helping You Understand Insurance
Frozen pipes are one of the most significant sources of damage for homeowners linked with winter weather. When a pipe freezes, water
can back up behind the blockage and cause a rupture leading to significant property damage. Homeowners can take a number of steps
before winter arrives to prepare their plumbing system for a drop in temperature.
- Make sure insulation is installed on any exposed pipe, specifically those in a closet of an attic. Heat tape or heat cables are two
options homeowners can explore for insulated exposed pipes.
- Identify and seal any leaks that expose pipes to cold air. Attics often hold cold air that can seep into the house and lower temperatures. It
is important to insulate any attic penetration, such as a partition wall, vent, plumbing stack, electric or mechanical chases. Access
doors into the attic must also be property sealed to protect a home from cold air in the attic.
- Homeowners should make sure that all wall cracks or penetrations are sealed, particularly around domestic
and fire protection lines and electrical conduits.
- Disconnect garden hoses and shut the indoor valves that control water flow to the outside of the house. Drain the pipe between
the indoor valve and the outdoor faucet.Despite these precautionary steps, extreme drops in the temperature can still cause pipes
Simple steps to protect your home during these cold snaps include:
- Paying attention to local weather forecasts that predict extreme cold weather.
- Opening your taps to allow a drip of water to keep water moving. This is really important for pipes in exterior walls that are
more exposed to cooler temperatures.
- Maintaining a consistent thermostat temperature during the day and at night. Turning down the thermostat at night, for example, can
expose some pipes to extremely low temperatures.
- Pipes under sinks or appliances are usually not insulated, so opening kitchen and sink cabinets can open access to warmer air circulating
throughout the house.
- Keep the garage door closed. Sometimes water pipes can run through the garage if it is attached to the home. An open door can
expose these pipes to extremely low temperatures.
- If you are leaving your home for any extended period of time during the winter, homeowners can help prevent frozen pipes upon their
return in a number of ways.
- Make sure the thermostat is set no lower than 12C (54F).
- Ask a neighbour to check on the house at least every other day to make sure the temperature is not too low.
- Before you leave, drain your water system.
Power outages are one of the more common causes of frozen pipes. Without power, the water supply may also shut off. If you do not
flush water out of the pipes it can easily freeze.
If water is no longer coming into your home, turn off the main water valve coming into your home. Open all taps to clear the
remaining water in the pipes.
Homeowners should ensure that they can access a back-up power supply, such as a stand-by generator.