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How To Prevent Frozen Pipes in Ottawa

Winterizing your home is always a big project, and as winter descends on the Ottawa area, getting your home ready for winter and cold weather is one of the best ways to protect it.

Any temperature below -15 degrees Celsius is generally a cause for concern when it comes to freezing pipes, yet many homeowners leave it to chance. Frozen pipes lead to burst pipes and that can mean thousands of dollars in repair and a headache you just don’t need during the holiday season.

Learn how to prevent your pipes from freezing in Ottawa by reading our helpful tips below, or by reaching out to our expert Ottawa plumbers. And if you’re worried about your outdoor faucet freezing, we have tips on how to handle that, too!

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What Causes Frozen Pipes?

Frozen pipes occur when the water inside them freezes due to exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Several things can lead to frozen pipes in Ottawa, including:

  1. No Insulation: If pipes aren’t wrapped in insulation, especially in cold places like basements, they’re more likely to freeze.
  2. Exposed Pipes: Pipes near walls, windows, or doors can freeze because they’re close to the cold outdoor air. Cracks in the house can make it worse.
  3. Not Enough Heat: If your home isn’t warm enough, pipes can freeze. Some people lower the heat at night or when they’re not home, which can be a problem.
  4. Water Not Moving: Pipes with no water flow are more likely to freeze. So, pipes leading to faucets you hardly use can freeze.
  5. Cracks and Openings: Cracks or holes in your house can let cold air in and freeze pipes.
  6. Outside Faucets: Outdoor faucets can freeze if they’re not prepared for winter.

Why Do Pipes Burst?

Put simply, they just get too cold. The cold air in your home causes the water pipes to contract, and the water begins to freeze and expand until the pipes can’t take the pressure anymore. That is why it’s so common to see this issue in the winter, with temperatures in Ottawa getting to the minus twenties and thirties.

Copper pipes are most likely to burst, although plastic pipes are not immune from severe cold and can burst as well. Thankfully keeping your pipes from freezing isn’t hard. It simply requires some forethought.

6 Tips To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing in Ottawa!

1. Seal Cracks & Crawl Spaces

This is the most important step and the most effective thing to do, including sealing up your attic. This will prevent hot air from escaping, make your heating more effective (and cost you less), and prevent the temperature from fluctuating and creating condensation on your pipes; which will drip and cause long-term water damage and mold.

2. Insulate Pipes

You might want to insulate your pipes with foam insulation to keep the temperature from fluctuating and prevent pipes from freezing. It will also prevent condensation and help keep your hot water bill low and conserve more water. You can also wrap your pipes in heat tape, but this is a bit less effective than foam insulation.

3. Keep Heating On

Home thermostat systems are equipped with sensors, usually placed in common areas meaning basement areas and spots lacking in insulation are several degrees colder than elsewhere in the house. Especially in some of our older Ottawa homes, this is how many frozen pipes happen.

4. Faucet Drip Method

If temperatures are dipping extremely low, allowing just a slight trickle of water to run out of one or two faucets. This keeps the water moving through your plumbing system, and running water is less likely to freeze. This isn’t a permanent fix, but when cold weather hits and cold water pipes have no insulation, it will keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.

5. Keep Interior Doors Open

The pipes under your counters and in your closets are at risk for freezing first because airflow is limited and will keep colder than other pipes. Keeping the cabinet doors open will let warm air circulate better. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets especially will have water supply lines, and when those pipes freeze, they are difficult broken pipes to fix.

6. Close the Garage Door

Garages tend to be the least insulated places in any home. The concrete floors and exposed pipes mean a high risk for freezing. Keeping your garage doors closed will help prevent freezing and keep your heating bill low.

Expert Ottawa Plumbers Ready to Help!

In Ottawa, battling frozen pipes is an annual challenge no homeowner should have to deal with. Burst pipes can lead to extensive damage and hefty repair bills. By following our tips above, you can fortify your home against winter’s chill and keep your plumbing system working smoothly.

At Out of This World Plumbing, we’re here to assist with any plumbing issues you may have in Ottawa or the surrounding area, ensuring you enjoy a hassle-free winter. Don’t let frozen pipes dampen your spirits; take action to protect your home and stay comfortable all season long. And if you need help winterizing your pipes, reach out to our team today!

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