Frozen pipes can cause more than a mess

Monday Nov 06th, 2017


Plumbing issues are part of being a homeowner. Over time you are bound to experience a problem with your drains, toilets, or showers. However, one potential plumbing issue that most Canadians don't think about is the possibility of the pipes freezing during the winter.

Once the temperature outside goes below zero, be aware that the pipes could freeze. This could happen for a number of different reasons, however, it commonly occurs when the heat is turned down when a homeowner is away for winter trips, or when someone neglects to shut off the water leading to external faucets.

“Don't turn down your heat too much and make sure that you have either a remote system that monitors the temperature inside, or that you have a reliable person to inspect your home regularly when you are away,” says Wayne Ross, an insurance expert with Aviva Canada. “The pipes could freeze if the temperature inside your home drops or the furnace stops working when you are away.”

Ross adds, “If you open a tap and no water comes out, don't take any chances and call a plumber right away.”

When water freezes it expands and this is a serious issue if it happens in your pipes. If a pipe bursts when you are at home, turn off your water at the main valve right away. Wait for a plumber to inspect to determine the damage, if any. If you do have water damage as a result of a burst pipe, call your insurance company. They will be able to assist you with your claim.

Tips for preventing pipes from freezing, include:

• Get them inspected to ensure they are properly insulated.

• Get all seals checked. Seal leaks can lead to cold air getting in and freezing the water.

• Turn off outside taps and disconnect outdoor hoses as part of your fall chores.

• Install frost-free faucets (hose bibbs) for supplying water to the front and back yards. If installed correctly they can prevent pipes from freezing and also prevent water damage.

• Install water shut-off alarms to close the supply if a leak is detected.

• Drain all pipes if you are going to be away for an extended period of time (more than four consecutive days).

If you are concerned about your pipes freezing, take the safe route and have a plumber take a look. This inspection can save you a lot of money and hassle. More detailed information is available from your insurance broker or at

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