During the cold weather earlier this week, the City responded to more than 200 calls from residents who had no water. More than 90 per cent of these calls were due to frozen pipes on private property. With forecasted nighttime temperatures dropping well below minus 10 degrees Celsius for the next few weeks, the City urges residents to take necessary precautions. Frozen water pipes can lead to significant property damage should they burst, resulting in no water for several days, depending on the severity of the repairs.
Residents are asked to follow the tips below, especially if the pipes inside their home are prone to freezing. Prior to placing a service call with 311, there are also steps residents can take if they have no water and suspect their pipes are already frozen.
Steps to thaw frozen pipes
• Turn on a tap in the basement, preferably the cold water faucet in the laundry room.
• Use a blow dryer to warm the suspected frozen pipe for one to two hours. Check the blow dryer regularly to ensure it does not overheat.
• Place a warm towel or rag around the suspected frozen pipe.
• Depending on the outside temperature and the extent of freezing within the pipe, the thawing process could take one to six hours.
Tips to avoid frozen water pipes in the home
• Consider leaving a tap open enough for a pencil-thin stream of flowing water, so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing. You must leave a pencil-thin stream flowing 24 hours a day until daytime and nighttime temperatures have returned to normal seasonal averages. Ensure the drain is kept clear of debris to prevent overflowing or flooding.
• Raise the temperature in your home one or two degrees especially at night.
• Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.
• Outdoor faucets are the first to freeze. Unscrew any hoses, turn off the outdoor water supply and let those taps drain.
• Insulate pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, attic and garage.
• If your pipes are prone to freezing, consider contacting a plumber for advice on how best to protect your home.
Learn more about frozen pipes by visiting http://www.toronto.ca/frozenpipes. If the steps above do not resolve the issue, call 311 or submit a service request online at http://www.toronto.ca/311 and someone from the City will investigate.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.9 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/TorontoComms, on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cityofto.