Whether you were born in the Ottawa area or have only lived here for a few short months, you are well aware of the fact that everything freezes in this weather – everything. It can be very frustrating to have the entire outdoor landscape covered in a thick blanket of snow and waking up to frosted ground. It can be even more frustrating if your pipes freeze and cause you trouble. Because what is worse than winter? Plumbing problems in the winter.
You don’t need to be physics major to know that water expands when it freezes. Water in the pipes can freeze and the expansion can cause burst pipes. Imagine the hassle and problems that come with a flooding in the house. Of course there are preventative measures and it is always a good idea to call a licensed plumber to come look at the pipes at the first hint of trouble. Here is how you prevent frozen pipes:
Insulate the pipes
This can be a DIY job, or you can hire a pro to take care of it for you. It will not cost much so don’t delay it. Foam insulation can be bought at a hardware store and all you need is time and duct tape. Make sure you seal it up real nice and don’t leave gaps. Insulation is easy if the pipes are visible. For pipes hiding behind walls or in the ceiling, you will need to call in a pro to do it right.
Drip water on the faucets
This is a little trick that can come in handy in the extreme weather conditions. Although it is not guaranteed to prevent pipes from freezing, it will work effectively in preventing them from bursting. Use both hot and cold water for best results. This may sound a little silly, but it works by reducing the pressure on your pipes.
Cracks in the foundation have become an age old problem now and also root of many tiny problems around the house. Make sure you seal these small cracks nicely to seal the air. All you need is a bit of caulking purchased at your local home improvement store. While you’re at it, seal cracks in the siding, around windows, and around doors as well. This will seal air leaks and prevent cold air from entering your home in the winter (added bonus: it keeps hot air out in the summer, and air conditioned air inside your home).
Heat the pipes
This is a solution as easy and logical as it gets. Take a hair dryer and apply heat to the pipes. If you want to low-tech version, wrap damp towels soaked with hot water around the pipes. Even better, you can buy “heat tape” that comes with a built-in thermostat so you can stop worrying about overheating.
Run the drain
If you do wake up or come home to frozen pipes, there is one last solution. Run the drain, even if no water comes out, and keep it running. The water will slowly thaw and begin to run. This is a much better solution than leaving your pipes frozen.
If you have a flooded home or have any concerns about a possible burst pipe, you must do two things immediately. One, turn off the water valve to prevent further leaking. Two, call a plumber in Ottawa ASAP to take care of the problem.