Frozen Water Lines

How To Prevent Frozen Water Lines

Here are some simple things you can do to prevent water lines from freezing in your home.

  • Seal air leaks in your home and garage, especially in the area of your water lines. Look for leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold air out.
  • If you haven’t done so already, disconnect, drain and shut off all outdoor hoses and faucets.
  • Insulate water lines with a pipe sleeve, especially in unheated areas like crawl spaces, basements, attics and storage rooms.
  • Insulate all exposed outside water pipes with foam pipe covers.
  • Keep cupboard doors open if they are beside exterior walls and contain water lines, as this will
    allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Do not set the furnace lower than 12C (55F), even at night.
  • If you’re leaving for vacation, keep the temperature inside your home consistent. Don’t turn off the furnace – set the thermostat in your house to no lower than 12C (55 F).

Thawing frozen water lines on your own

Be certain to follow these precautions to protect yourself & your property if you attempt to thaw frozen water lines on your own:

  • While attempting to thaw the water line, turn on a cold water tap in the basement so you can see if water service is restored.
  • Use a blow dryer, aimed at an angle, on the exposed pipe near your water meter. Only do this for between one and two hours. Do not leave the blow dryer unattended.
  • Place a warm towel or rag around the pipe.
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is located and how it works. If a pipe bursts you will need to shut off water from the main valve.
  • Do not: Use a torch or anything with an open flame to thaw water pipes. Not only is it a fire risk, but you could overheat one area of the pipe, causing it to burst or the joints to pull apart.
  • Do not: Use electrical appliances in areas of standing water as you could be electrocuted.

Hiring a plumber

Here are some questions to ask if you hire a plumber to assess your water line:

  • Is your plumber licensed?
  • Is your plumber insured?
  • Does your plumber have the proper equipment to thaw frozen water lines?

Questions or concerns?

Call the City of Niagara Falls Municipal Works Service Centre at 905-356-1355 for more information.