Preventing Frozen Pipes
When the weather in Manitoba gets bone-chillingly cold, it's not just humans that feel the effects. Our homes do too! A common occurrence is for water pipes to freeze and potentially burst, creating a much bigger problem. Even if they do freeze but don't burst, check the lines for small leaks or cracks which can can cause serious water damage in your home.
There are ways to fight the cold and keep your pipes flowing:
Leave cabinet doors under the kitchen sink open so that the room air can warm the pipes.
Put a small heater in the potential problem area to warm the walls and pipes. **MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS NEAR THE HEATER**
Close and seal foundation vents that are near water pipes with rigid foam insulation.
Insulate foundation walls and ends of floor joists with rigid foam insulation.
If the pipes are freezing inside of an exterior wall, cut an opening to expose the pipes to the warm air in the home. Put some fiberglass insulation around the pipes and in the space between the pipes and the exterior wall. Cover the hole with a hinged panel that gives easy access during cold spells.
Have the exterior walls insulated. Caulk and seal around doors, windows, faucets and outside outlets. If you have a lot of snow, shovel it up against the foundation to help keep some of the interior heat inside. When it starts to get warm again keep an eye on the foundation in that area to make sure no water or moisture is seeping inside.
In very cold weather, run the water in your faucet very slightly. The moving water can help prevent freezing.
If a pipe DOES burst inside your home, shut off your water at the main valve and cut the electricity to the section of the home where the burst occurred. Call a plumber to address the pipe. If water has gotten into any carpeting, walls or ceilings it's important to call a water damage professional for remediation as soon as possible...this will ensure that no mildew or mold can form.