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Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes During Extreme Cold Weather

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by Town of High River

11/01/2023

Community

HIGH RIVER – In extreme cold weather there is often an increase in service calls for frozen water lines. A frozen water service is an inconvenience that could be costly. If the frozen pipe is on the homeowner’s property tips and steps to follow. If you suspect the frozen pipe is beyond your property line or none of the steps below work, please call the Town’s Utility Emergency Call Number: 403-652-6353

Step one is to prevent freezing. Pipes can be wrapped in insulation using heat tape to prevent freezing and be sure any cold drafts from windows are sealed. Open cupboard doors to allow warm air to reach pipes, and of course, shut off the water supply and drain or blow out taps. During an extreme cold spell, running a pencil thin line of water from the tap can also prevent freezing.

If your water isn’t running and you suspect a frozen pipe, ensure the main water valve in your basement is turned on and that no pipes have burst or leaked. Calling a plumber is recommended if you can’t access the frozen pipe or thaw it safely.  If the frozen pipes are located inside an exterior wall act quickly and contact a professional. Repairs may involve cutting a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose pipes to warmer air.

If you can thaw the pipe yourself, here are six things to keep in mind:

  • A light bulb near the pipe may generate enough heat to thaw the pipe. Apply heat to the frozen pipe section using heat tape, a hair dryer, or hot towels.
  • Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any other frozen pipes.
  • Do not leave the heat source unattended. 
  • Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heater, a charcoal stove, or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes.

Remember these tips during the next cold spell. Take steps today to prevent frozen pipes.

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For more information:

Town of High River

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