How to avoid or thaw frozen pipes

How to avoid frozen pipes and how to thaw frozen pipes in your home.

We know how frustrating it can be when the water is no longer running and pipes are frozen – we also know how very expensive it is when frozen water lines burst from the pressure flooding homes and damaging everything. We would love to help you avoid that stress and expense!  Below are some tips to get you through the coldest days.

Here are a few ways you can minimize damage to your pipes:

Raise the house temperature & open cabinets under sinks and where water lines run – the heating bill will cost you more for a few days but the money it will save you in potential water damages from burst pipes is worth the additional heating cost.

When you know it is going to go below -18°C you may want to trickle cold water in your taps that are closest to outside walls (moving water is less likely to freeze).

When you know it is going to go below -18°C and you have had problems with frozen pipes before you can trickle hot water (& cold) in your taps that are closest to outside walls (the hot water lines usually run close to the cold water lines and the heat from the pipes can help prevent the cold water pipes from freezing).

Frozen pipes

If your pipes freeze over in the next few days here are a few things you can do to try to thaw them yourself:

Warning: before you start thawing frozen pipes know where the shut off valve is 
in case pipes leak or burst during thawing.

Step 1: try running hot water in the tap where the cold water is no longer running (sometimes slowly running the hot water for a half hour or more is enough to thaw the frozen cold water lines next to them).

If step 1 doesn’t work you can try one of the following:

Option 1: put hot water bottles or a thick cloth soaked in hot water over the frozen pipe & replace as they cool off.

Option 2: you can use a hair blow dryer (if using a blow dryer be sure to place it away from potential water to avoid electrocution & avoid setting it in areas where it can overheat & cause fires)

Option 3: you can use an electric space heater in the room (do NOT use space heaters IN cabinets or under areas where it can either get wet causing potential electrocution or in small spaces where it can cause a potential fire). Never use a gas or propane space heater indoors – the carbon monoxide can kill everyone in your home!

When thawing, start at the end of the pipe nearest the tap and work away from it never use a naked flame of any kind

Again be aware that if pipes have frozen the water has expanded in the pipe making the possibility of leaking pipes as they thaw.

Be prepared to turn off water and have plenty of towels handy.

Burst pipes

If a pipe bursts:

Turn off the main water shut off immediately.

If the shut off valve does not work open all the cold water taps away from the leaking area to slow water flow to the leak.

If you cannot stop the water:

Call city of Ottawa Water works to have your water main turned off: 613-580-2400

If you need professional help we are available 24 hours a day at 613-224-0041.

(If after business hours leave a message on the emergency phone line and a plumber will call you back as soon as possible.)

We wish you all the best during this cold freeze and hope you and your home stay warm and dry.

Kay Francis and the entire Francis Family Team

Serving YOU is all we do since 1933!