Home maintenance tips to avoid frozen pipes

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CAA Saskatchewan

During the winter months, homeowners are often faced with cold weather issues and challenges such as frozen pipes. During cold snaps, pipes freeze and can be destructive. A tiny 1/8 inch crack in a pipe can unleash 946 litres (250 gallons) of water per day, which will cause major flooding and structural damage to the home and will put the property at risk for mould damage. Frozen pipes are caused by quick temperature drops, poor insulation, and thermostats that are set too low. When water within a pipe freezes, it expands and turns into ice. This puts pressure on the pipe from the inside, resulting with a crack or a break in the soft copper or plastic pipe.

Here are some tips to prevent frozen pipes from occurring in your home:

- Before the cold arrives, take time to ensure the pipes in your attic, crawlspace, basement, or those close to exterior walls are insulated with heat tape or approved heat cables.

- Check for air leaks near pipes; seal, caulk, or insulate any leaks to keep the cold out and the heat in.

- Ensure you and your family members know where your water shut off valve is and check that it is in good working order.

- Keep the temperature in the home at 15.5°C minimum (60°F), even when out of town.

- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach pipes under sinks or appliances near exterior walls.

- Run all faucets daily to ensure they are functioning. If necessary use a hair dryer to warm pipes and thaw a freeze. Be sure to turn on the tap before thawing the pipe so the water has somewhere to go upon thawing to relieve the pressure. If you cannot thaw the pipe or locate the freeze, contact a plumber.

- If you experience a break, turn the water off as soon as possible, turn on the faucets, and contact a plumber and your insurance company for instructions.

And for those homeowners planning to escape winter for a vacation break, remember to have your home checked daily to ensure that no major issues have occurred. Consider turning the water off in your home while you are away.

Visit www.caask.ca for further information and tips.

Organizations: CAA Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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