How to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

Tuesday Oct 11th, 2016


  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. If you haven't done this in the Fall, you could still do so now as we're still at temperatures above freezing.

  2. Disconnect your garden hoses and drain all outside taps. I don't disconnect. I just close the taps and drain the hose.

  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. You have to know where it is in case an emergency water shut off is required.

  5. If necessary, 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). More often than not, one doesn't really need to do this. I don't as my water meter is in the furnace room and not exposed to cold.

    If your meter is located inside a cabinet, leave the doors open to allow the heat from the house to reach those pipes.

  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. When away from home, maintain a consistent temperature of at least 15ºC or 60ºF in your home at all times. This is good not only for the pipes, but for the whole house, in general.

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