We know and love him as Dave Smythe, owner of DS Plumbing. But in the past few weeks, Dave has taken on the role of Ottawa’s plumbing expert to share the cold reality of frozen pipes. Learn more plumbing expert tips on frozen pipes
“2 days in a row below -20, and we’ll start getting the calls,” Dave says to CTV Ottawa reporter Megan Shaw on Dec. 29, 2017. He says the same thing in a CBC interview on Jan. 9, 2018. “We’ve been very busy recently with the cold snap.” “The main reason pipes are bursting in the first place is we get this extreme cold snap…and as it warms up, even though it might still be technically freezing outside, the heat from your house has now managed to fight back the cold that’s been coming in that caused the freezing in the first place, and as such the pipes are like, ‘okay great, I now have flow. Oh wait, my pipe burst, so I’m spraying water’.” In other words, the real damage is done when it’s -30. But it isn’t until the thaw that the pipe burst is evident. “If pipes do burst, we want our customers to know; where is your main shutoff valve?” Dave says in another interview with CBC on January 12.
Listen to Dave on CBC >
Dave recommends that you remove everything surrounding the pipes in your home, and let the warm air circulate. If the problem keeps repeating itself, allow a small amount of water to run. “Any running water you have is a whole lot harder to freeze than when it’s just stationary.” Other preventative measures include keeping your furnace at a slightly higher temperature. “You don’t need a sauna,” Dave says, but advises raising it by 2-5 degrees if needed. You should also make sure your entire home has air flowing through it. Open all doors – including cupboards – to let the warm air reach the pipes. You also have to be careful during basement renovations, particularly in older homes. Dave explains that when you run your pipes along the outside wall, and then box them in, you create a “cold cavity.” This can put your pipes at serious risk of freezing. The way to combat this is to make sure you use good insulation and have air barriers to protect your pipes. For more plumbing expert advice on preventing frozen pipes, check out this helpful infographic>
If your home’s pipes freeze, you need to call a plumbing expert to come help. A plumbing expert will be able to reduce the risk of further damage to your home if a pipe does burst. Call us or book an appointment if you’re in need of plumbing assistance.