Water is unique in that it expands as it freezes, putting tremendous pressure on pipes that contain it. Regardless of how strong your pipes are, or what material they are made of, freezing water can cause them to break.
Is This a Concern in Vancouver?
The truth is that it doesn’t often get cold enough in the Vancouver area to burst pipes from sub-zero temperatures, but it does happen – sometimes without warning – and it is something you need to be prepared for.
Pipes that are exposed to outside cold, such as hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water supply pipes in unheated spaces like basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets can be at risk. Pipes running against exterior walls with little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Preventing a Frozen Pipe Catastrophe
Winter is just around the corner here in the Lower Mainland, and you never know when we are going to get hit with freezing temperatures. To avoid the heartache of a flooded home due to a burst water supply pipe, take preventive action now.
- Drain swimming pools and water sprinkler supply lines. If you don’t know how to do so properly, have a professional take care of it. Whatever you do, don’t put antifreeze in these lines unless directed.
- Outdoor hoses should be removed and drained and the indoor valves supplying outdoor hose bibs should be shut off.
- Leave outside faucets open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without bursting the pipe.
- Check your home for other areas where water supply lines are found in unheated areas. Pipes in these areas should be insulated – including hot water pipes.
- Consider installing products made for insulating water pipes, such as “pipe sleeves”, or CSA approved “heat tape” or “heat cable” to keep pipes warm.
What To Do Should A Pipe Burst
For the vast majority of us, it’s necessary to find a plumber if a pipe has burst. Fixing it yourself might be relatively easy or extremely difficult. The pipe’s location can be the determining factor. Typically, a burst pipe is inside the wall and requires professional expertise to open up the wall, fix the problem and repair the wall.
Your first step, should you discover a leaking pipe, is to shut off the water supply to that pipe. A broken water supply pipe can quickly release thousands of liters of water into your home. If damage to walls, floors and furnishings is evident, you should call your insurer in order to get plumbing repair and restoration services to your home as quickly as possible.
If You Need Help
In the Vancouver area, the team at K.C.’s Plumbing & Heating has an enviable reputation for responding to plumbing emergencies quickly and for dealing with problems in a courteous and professional manner.