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  • Writer's pictureHandsome Hank

Is Your Plumbing Succumbing to the Winter Deep Freeze?


Frozen pipes are a heck of a winter gripe.

Winter in Canada can take a few weeks – or even months – to really hit its stride.


Sometimes, you could mistake December for April or May. Heck, there’s been Januaries resembling a slightly nippy September. When you should be snuggled up warmly in front of a crackling fire, you might be outside in shorts and a t-shirt sipping on Pina Coladas.


Although old man winter always takes his sweet time, he eventually arrives… and with a vengeance.


2019 has been no different.


The result? White knuckles and heart palpitations on your drive to work. Arguing with your significant other about shovelling duties. And if old man winter is in a particularly salty mood? The very reason we’re writing this blog: frozen pipes in your home.


Suffering through the conditions is one thing. Doing so without plumbing is akin to getting punched in the throat, then being sued for falling into the unsuspecting fist.


The $5,000-plus in water damage caused by frozen pipes is, at the very least, a metaphorical punch to the throat.


While we’ve taken a previous foray into the world of frozen pipes, given the current weather, we thought it necessary to dive a little deeper into the subject. Below, we’ll examine conditions most conducive to frozen pipes and potential solutions to the problem.


When Will Your Pipes Freeze?


It’s at 20°F, or -7°C, and below that pipes become susceptible to freezing. Now, we all know -7°C is quite mild in Canada, meaning that without the proper precautionary measures in place, it won’t take much for your pipes to be susceptible to freezing.


Once the weather sinks to these depths, the following pipes are most vulnerable to the conditions:

· Uninsulated pipes

· Pipes with poor or older insulation

· Pipes located on the outer walls of your home

· Pipes located in the attic, unfinished basement, unheated garage and crawl space

· Pipes made of copper or galvanized steel


What NOT to Do During the Winter


Don’t leave any windows open above radiators and sinks, because the draft can actually freeze your pipes. Furthermore, It’s a common mistake of many homeowners to turn the heat off as a money-saving and energy-saving measure when going on vacation to escape the cold. Ironically, this will end up costing you far more because of the resulting from frozen pipes.


Of course, it’s sound logic to turn down the heat when going. Just don’t turn it off completely.


Thawing Frozen Pipes


In our previous blog about frozen pipes we primarily discussed preventative measures.

But it may be too late for prevention.


Selfishly, we could tell you to call a plumber and we’d do our best to take care of your snafu pronto. However, in an effort to save you from a service fee, we’re offering some helpful tips to thaw your pipes without hiring a licensed professional.


Be mindful that the pipes might have already burst and that thawing them could lead to a flood in your home. Provided a pipe is broken, you must turn the water off at the main shutoff valve.


However, if no pipe has burst, try the following steps:


1. Turn on your faucet. Even cold water helps melt the ice in the pipe.


2. Use either an electric heating pad, space heater, electric hair dryer, or towels soaked in hot water to apply heat to the pipe (keep any electrics away from flammable materials). Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Don’t use any kind of open flame (like a blowtorch or charcoal stove) because high heat will damage the pipes or start a fire.


3. Inspect your home for any other frozen pipes.


4. If you can’t find/access the frozen areas or are unable to thaw the pipe, called a licensed plumber.


At Megan Drew Plumbing, we’re no stranger to service calls in the harshest of winter conditions. Usually, it has to do with frozen pipes.


Regardless of the issue or the temperature, when you dial our number, expect us to arrive on your doorstep in a timely fashion adorned in our Hawaiian shirts beneath a heavy tunic. If you live in Markham, Stouffville, or Uxbridge, and you need a plumber you can truly rely on, contact us today!

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