Let’s face it, we live in Canada where brutal cold temperatures, blizzards, and ice storms are the norm during the long winter months. So while it’s still above zero, it’s important to take the time to ensure your home is prepared; especially an essential service like your water supply.
Water freezes and becomes solid at zero degrees. When it freezes it expands and if left in a pipe, this frozen water often causes the pipe to literally burst. Broken or burst pipes can be expensive to fix and end up causing extensive damage to your home. Ruining floors, walls, ceilings, furniture and unreplaceable items like family photos. These damages pale in comparison to having to deal with the frustration of doing an expensive, tricky repair in the winter. Often leaving a home without water for a few days. Not a pleasant experience, especially in the cold winter months.
Be prepared to battle the winter months with our plumbing prep checklist.
Prepare your plumbing – Winter checklist
1) Identify your home’s freezing points – Check around the exterior and the interior of your home for pipes in areas exposed to the cold and that could experience freezing. Places such as crawl spaces, basements, garages and exterior walls.
2) Get down with the shutdown – Ensure your sprinkler or irrigation system is shut off and drained fully. The same goes for any pipes that lead to an outdoor faucet.
3) Know where to shut your water off – Locate and tag, if necessary, the main water shut-off valve. Being able to quickly identify and shut this off in an emergency is critical. Check this valve regularly. As they age they can rust closed and in older homes just be too rusted to turn fully off. An emergency is not the right time to find out you can’t shut the water off!
4) Protect your pipes – In areas where the pipe is going to be exposed to cold air constantly, wrap the pipe in insulation.
5) Strengthen your defenses – Eliminate the courses of cold air drafts by plugging drafts around doors, closing air vents located in your foundation and sealing any holes where cables come in.
In Toronto, we frequently get cold snaps where it can feel like -40 for several days. During these cold spells its important to keep the water flowing throughout your interior plumbing system, even a little bit helps. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.
Inspecting your plumbing for potential problems during the changing seasons can end up saving you huge frustration and expense down the road. We always advise our customers to be prepared. If you have any questions give us a call at 416-291-9444.