You probably don’t have to be told that it gets cold in Canada in the winter. Low temperatures, wind, and frequent snow are the hallmarks of a Scarborough winter.
Of course, that means that you need to take extra steps to keep your home in good shape during the cold weather. Your plumbing, although you may not think of it, is especially at risk.
Here are some tips to help you keep your plumbing in top shape this winter to avoid disasters.
Understand Frozen Pipes
What’s so wrong with having water freeze in your pipes? Well, it can keep you from getting the water you need, but there’s more to it than that.
Water expands when it freezes, and when that happens in your pipes it puts tremendous pressure on them. Your pipes can crack and leak or even explode. You can end up with anything from a persistent drip that leads to mould and water damage to a gusher that spews hundreds of litres of water into your home.
Keeping this from happening is essential, which is why you need to prepare your plumbing for winter.
Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
In the summer having an outdoor faucet is a great way to water the garden, wash a car, or hose off a muddy dog. In the winter, however, it’s important to drain these completely and make sure they aren’t connected to your home water system.
If you don’t, the exposure to outdoor cold will freeze the water and the ice will work it’s way inside. Instead, open the faucet and the bleeder cap on the shutoff valve. This will drain the pipe and ensure no ice forms.
You also need to disconnect hoses. Hoses that are left outside can freeze, and ice can back up into the faucet if it’s still connected. Avoid trouble by disconnecting and draining all hoses and storing them for winter.
Insulate or Use Heat Cables for Bare Pipes
If you have pipes that are in danger of freezing – or you’ve had problems with freezing in the past – look into using heat cables. They have an internal thermostat that will detect if your pipes get too cold and turn on heat to warm them up. You need access to an outlet to use them, but they generally aren’t expensive.
You can also combine a heat cable with insulation, wrapping the cable inside against the pipe. This helps the pipe retain the heat that’s created and can save you energy and help cables last longer.
For help with insulation and water damage prevention, connect with a company that provides waterproofing and drain service in Toronto. They can help you make arrangements to keep your plumbing safe.
Turn Off the Water Main if You’re Gone Awhile
Leaving for vacation for several days, or even longer? Protect your home and plumbing by turning off the water at the main. This will help keep water out of your pipes, and if anything freezes there will be far less damage.
Also turn off other appliances that automatically use water, such as the ice maker in your refrigerator, so that they don’t continue to run while you’re gone. If they run without a water supply, they can burn out.
Contact a Professional if Your Pipes Freeze
Hopefully, the steps above will help your pipes stay warm and avoid problems this winter. However, if there is a concern, you need to call a professional.
There are a variety of tips online for thawing your pipes on your own, but doing so is very dangerous. If you thaw one area but not another, you can increase the pressure and the chances of a burst pipe that ruins your home.
Instead, let a plumber in Caledon take care of the problem professionally. They know exactly what to do and can safely get your pipes back to the right temperature.