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What To Do About Frozen Pipes in Ottawa

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As winter sets in, Ottawa residents face the daunting threat of frozen pipes, a common and potentially costly issue. At Out of This World Plumbing, we understand the importance of protecting your home during harsh Canadian winters.

Continue reading to learn how to tell if your pipes are frozen and what to do about them if they are. If you have any questions or need help with frozen pipes, reach out to our expert plumbers in Ottawa right away!

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How to Tell if Your Pipes Are Frozen

Locating a frozen pipe can be a bit of a detective work, but there are several steps you can follow to help identify the frozen section of your plumbing:

1) Reduced or No Water Flow

One of the first signs of frozen pipes is that water pressure has dropped significantly. If you turn the tap on and water is reduced to only a trickle out, or pressure is significantly lower than usual, it may be well on its way to freezing.

2) Frost/Condensation or Ice Buildup

The most obvious sign is frost or condensation on your pipes, usually in spaces lacking insulation, like in a basement, crawl space or any other area where plumbing runs close to exterior walls. Occasionally, you’ll see small cracks as well.

3) Bulging Pipes

Caused by the expanding water with ice forming, a bulge in your pipe is a sure sign.

4) Unusual Sounds

Sometimes, you’ll hear banging or gurgling in your pipes if they haven’t quite frozen completely yet. It is the sound of ice flowing through your pipes and knocking against them as it travels. If you hear that noise coming from your pipes, it won’t be long before your water pipes are frozen and blocked completely.

What You Should Do if Your Pipes Freeze

Once your water pipes are frozen, or if it seems like they are about to burst, it’s essential to take calm, calculated steps.

1) Assess the Situation

If water suddenly stops flowing during cold weather, freezing pipes could be the culprit. Not all pipes may freeze at once, leaving some functional while others are affected.

2) Stay Calm

Don’t panic! Check if the pipes are frozen or if they’ve burst. Burst pipes won’t cause flooding until they thaw.

3) Don’t Use the Toilet

Refrain from using your toilet unless you’re certain the water supply is functioning. Consider utilizing a neighbor’s bathroom or arranging temporary accommodation elsewhere.

4) Shut-off the Water Supply

Locate and test your main water supply shut-off valve. Familiarize yourself with its operation; it can prevent potential flooding in case of a burst pipe.

5) Try Thawing the Pipes

If your pipes freeze, it can be tempting to want to warm them up as fast as possible, but doing so too quickly can make them burst. Instead, try thawing small freezes using a hairdryer or space heater. Never leave these appliances unattended though, as they can pose fire hazards.

You can also pour hot water down the drain, or apply heat tape to help thaw frozen pipes.

Never use an open flame, like a blowtorch, to try to thaw frozen pipes, and don’t use a gas, kerosene or propane heater either.

6) Call in the Pros

If you’re unable to thaw the pipes yourself or notice a burst, it’s time to call a professional plumber. A skilled plumber can use specialized techniques, like applying an electric charge, for instantaneous thawing and necessary repairs.

Out of This World Plumbing is Here to Help!

In the face of frozen pipes, preparedness and swift action are your allies. Preventive measures and a quick response can save you from headaches and expenses (be sure to check out our blog post about how to prevent frozen pipes!). If your pipes have frozen or you even suspect they have, reach out to Out of This World Plumbing. We’re here to keep your plumbing in stellar shape.

Stay warm, stay safe, and let us help you through the winter season! Contact us today for any plumbing concerns in Ottawa or the surrounding area!

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