The Farmers' Almanac is forecasting a brutal winter for Ontario. “It will be an exceptionally cold winter,” almanac editor Peter Geiger told CTV News Toronto. The Farmers’ Almanac uses a formula that's over 200 years old, and they are calling for frigidly cold temperatures starting as early as November.
When old man winter rolls around, the first thing that all Mississauga homeowners should be concerned about is freezing temperatures. Freezing temperatures can cause frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can expand from freezing water, causing them to burst. Pressure from freezing can reach 3,000 psi or more. Even a few minutes of a household’s water running through a burst pipe can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, plumbing supply system failures cost an average of $5,092 after the insurance deductible is paid. 18 percent of plumbing system failures are caused by frozen pipes. Though frozen pipes account for a relatively small portion of plumbing incidences, they are nearly twice as severe — and therefore, cost nearly twice as much — as issues caused by material failure.
When it comes to frozen pipes, the costs don't end there, though.
Water damage is often the biggest expense associated with burst or frozen pipes, costing homeowners an average of $15,000, with insurance. $15,000! That said, you should, as a Mississauga homeowner, be proactive about protecting your pipes, your home and your wallet from the very real consequences of frozen pipes.
Here is a guide from Mr. Rooter Plumbing about how you can prepare your pipes for the first frost, as well as when is the best time to do so.
Many Mississauga homeowners begin the process of closing down their pipes and insulating their homes AFTER the first frost. While the motto "better late than never" certainly applies in this situation, the best time to begin draining and insulating your plumbing is in the fall, before Jack Frost comes knocking at your door.
On the one hand, you're more likely to find all the supplies you need in one place when you begin the process early on in the season. On the other, taking care of the task now when the weather is still semi-warm is preferable to wrapping your pipes in below freezing temperatures later on.
Once you have the supplies you need, it’s time to winterize your plumbing system in the most efficient way possible.
Once the first leaves begin to fall and your garden's flowers begin to wilt, schedule a day to shut down your sprinkler system, drain all outside hoses, cover all outdoor faucets with protective materials and disconnect outdoor appliances, such as refrigerators and fountains. Ideally, you should roll up your hoses and store them in a safe, dry place, along with any appliances you can comfortably relocate.
In climates where temperatures can hover at below freezing such as Mississauga, foam covers are an easy and affordable way to protect your home's plumbing system. Because of their ease of installation and low costs, there is no reason not to invest in this crucial step. If you want to keep small winter rodents from crawling into your home's pipes, you can purchase hard plastic covers instead.
As for your sprinkler system…Once you’ve located your home’s water shut-off valve and have turned off the outside lines, detach the hose from the faucet, drain it and store it where it won’t become damaged. To help prevent frozen pipes, be sure to twist on all the exterior faucets to release all the water still inside the pipes, and leave the faucets turned on to keep pressure from building up inside your system over the winter.
Roughly 20 percent of insurance claims are caused by frozen pipes. You can avoid becoming a statistic by taking proactive measures in the fall and wrapping your pipes with the most durable materials available.
Your emergency Mr. Rooter Plumber can help you identify those materials, or you can request recommendations from your local hardware store representative. Ideally, your entire home's plumbing system should be insulated to prevent frozen pipes, but if you live in an older home with exposed pipes, you should focus most of your attention on the following areas:
- The basement
- Crawl spaces
- The exterior sprinkler cabinet
Even if winter isn’t coming, it’s still a good idea to insulate your home’s pipes year-round. Doing so takes some of the load off your water heater since your pipes are able to retain the desired temperature. Speak with an experienced plumber in Mississauga for more tips on getting the most out of your water heater.
Doing something as simple as letting your faucets drip overnight can prevent your pipes from freezing and therefore, from bursting and causing costly damage. Opening a faucet provides relief from the excessive pressure that builds up within the faucet when freezing occurs. It's important to note that letting your faucets drip does not prevent frozen pipes, but rather, it keeps them from bursting when your pipes do freeze. This is because if there is no excessive water pressure, there is no burst pipe, even if the water within your pipes is already frozen.
Letting your pipes drip does waste water, so only open those connected to exposed pipes. Even the slowest drip is effective at preventing pressure build-up, so water waste should be minimal. Where both hot & cold water lines serve a spigot, make sure to open up both valves, as both supply lines are subject to freezing.
Ask any plumber at Mr. Rooter Plumbing and he or she will tell you that it’s not just your exposed pipes that need some TLC. While you’re letting your faucets drip in anticipation of freezing temperatures, open up the cabinets underneath your home’s sinks. This simple step allows the heat inside your home to work its way around your pipes to help keep them from freezing. You may only need to do this if your house is not well insulated and heated. If it is, your pipes should stay warm beneath your cabinets.
You can also prevent your covered pipes from freezing by placing a small lamp with an incandescent light bulb near the pipes. However, before you do so, clear the area of any flammable materials to prevent a house fire.
Can you remember the last time you had your plumbing system inspected and maintained? If not, now is a great time to change that. Frozen pipes aren’t the only thing that can give you grief this winter. If your plumbing currently has problems you don’t know about, those issues can be made worse with the arrival of colder temperatures.
For instance, small clogs in your pipes can keep water from fully tricking through your faucets. An ageing or malfunctioning water heater that needs a professional’s touch could have a hard time keeping up with your desire for hot water during especially frigid days, which could also result in higher energy bills. Have a plumber in Mississauga come out and give your system a look to ensure it’s ready for the coldest of seasons.
That said, it’s best to have all your work looked over by an experienced plumber from Mr. Rooter Mississauga so you can have peace of mind that you did everything the right way.
If you do find a frozen pipe, here are some ways to get water flowing again.
Tips on thawing your frozen pipes:
- Apply heat to the frozen pipe. This can be done using a hairdryer, a space heater, or applying warm, towels, or a heating pad.
- Keep the faucet on while you warm the pipes. This will allow the ice to thaw and trickle out.
- Continue to apply heat to the pipes until your water pressure is restored.
The best course of action? Call on a certified plumber you can trust. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga, we are well-versed in the best remedies and preventative measures to avoid the damage that frozen pipes can cause. We can get your pipes flowing quickly again and prevent unnecessary costs associated with burst pipes.
Unfortunately, if your pipes already burst as a result of a big freeze, you’ll have to replace them. Fortunately, the good news is Mr. Rooter Plumbing has been replacing frozen pipes in the City of Mississauga for over 25 years. We pride ourselves on employing the most qualified plumbers in the business. Our guarantees are designed to make sure your pipes are flowing properly when we’re done, no matter what!
Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing today at (905) 817-0210 or book an appointment online. Mississauga Plumbing Experts can make sure your pipes survive even the harshest of winters, or we can replace your pipes quickly and effectively.