Dealing with Frozen Pipes

Preventing Frozen Pipes in Your Home

If you live in an area with extreme winter temperature fluctuations like we do in Calgary and area, you run the risk of the pipes in your home freezing. As the water running through your pipes begins to freeze, it will expand 10% in volume until the pressure rises enough to split your pipes open, potentially causing severe water damage to your home.  Preventing pipes from freezing in the first place is always the priority.  However, should you discover your pipes have frozen, there are techniques that you can use to avoid a leak and potential damage to your home.  

Adding insulation to water pipes in any unheated areas throughout your home, garage, basement and outdoor taps can assist in making water less likely to freeze. 

Keep Water Moving and Open Cabinet Doors. 

Gently turning on taps to allow a small amount of water to flow in areas that are likely to freeze will ensure water continues to move. By taking it a step further and opening the cabinets around the pipes you will allow warm air to circulate through the area at risk of freezing. 

Turn off Appliances.

If a "water" appliance (such as a washing machine) sits in an unheated area, turn off the supply lines and disconnect hoses, especially if you know temperatures will drop below freezing.  

If you know you are going to be away from your home for a few days, ensure you turn off your main water valve to avoid plumbing system damage. Have a friend or neighbor regularly check your home to inspect for any water damage or visible leaks while you are away.    

Be sure to disconnect outside water hoses and address sprinkler lines before the cold weather starts to prevent any sitting water from freezing, which can damage or destroy hosing and connecting pipes inside your home.  

Repair Leaks.

If your pipes have cracks or leaks, ensure you make any necessary repairs before the cold weather arrives. Leaking water will freeze, cause expansion and eventually burst- leaving you with significant and potentially expensive damage. 

Thawing Frozen Pipes in Your Home

Turn Off Your Water.

Turning off your water supply will reduce pressure on the frozen pipes and minimize flooding inf the pipe does burst. Once your water is shut off, review the suggested techniques below or call for professional help. 

Warm the Area. 

Use a hairdryer or heat lamp to thaw the frozen area so water gently melts reducing the risk of damage. 

Wrap the Frozen Pipe.

Wrap a heavy towel around the pipe to concentrate heat to one area.  Place a bucket underneath and pour boiling water over the towel. 

Check for Damage.

Look for any leaks in your exposed pipes as well as damp areas on your walls, ceilings and flooring. Once the pipes have thawed there can still be a high amount of pressure that can put you at risk for further leaks or bursts. 

Call Our Team

In the event you experience a burst pipe, you can call on our team at ServiceMaster Restore of Calgary to help remediate water damage. Our team of experts are trained in water restoration and can help get you and your home back to normal as quickly as possible.