While winters in London, Ontario are generally mild, we do endure nasty cold snaps. When temperatures get down to -15°C frozen pipes become a problem in many homes.
Based on decades of winter experience, Salmon Plumbing & Heating have a list of suggestions for home owners to prevent frozen pipes, which can split causing considerable damage to your home.
When the temperature dips below -10°C:
- Do not turn the heat down. Now is not the time to conserve energy.
- Expose your pipes to air. Often pipes that run through crawl spaces or are tucked inside of basement vanities. These areas tend to be much cooler than the rest of your home. Open these areas up to the warmth so that the water does not freeze in the lines. Also, be aware of any holes in the wall that allow frigid winter air to enter. We've seen frozen lines 10 feet inside of a house because of a small hole in a basement wall.
- Know how to shut off your water. If there is water showing up in the wrong place you need to know where the shutoff valve is and how to shut the water off quickly to limit the damage. Learn about shutoffs at by clicking here.
- Do Not ignore water that is not running properly. If a tap goes from running like a charm to trickling or nothing it probably means the line is frozen somewhere. If you react quickly you may be able to prevent the line from bursting. Get warm air on the pipes as soon as you can.
- Pipes that run along exterior walls are extremely vulnerable. Good plumbing practice is to run lines near the centre of the house. Unfortunately, re-modelled homes often have lines running through exterior walls, which creates a potential problem.
- Shut off and drain your supply lines for your outdoor taps in the fall. These are a common source of problems when the temperature drops.
- Plastic Plumbing. Many newer and renovated homes have plastic rather than copper lines. When plastic freezes it is much less likely to burst. Unfortunately, if the plastic line does freeze you cannot apply electricity to thaw the line (as you can with copper) and you may have to pry off wall panels or ceiling tiles to get to the source of the problem.
- Shut off your water when you are on vacation and have somebody check your home every few days.