Cold Weather Alert Issued - Prevent drinking water pipes from freezing

Posted by Michelle Cuthbert on Sunday, January 20th, 2019

As Environment Canada has issued an Extreme Cold Warning the City of Port Colborne is reminding residents to take steps to prevent drinking water pipes in their property from freezing.

To avoid frozen water pipes in your home, consider the following suggestions:

  •  Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.
  •  Outdoor faucets are the first to freeze. Disconnect, drain, and shut off any outdoor hoses and faucets.
  •  Insulate pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, attic and garage, with a pipe sleeve.
  •  If your pipes are prone to freezing, consider contacting a plumber for advice on how best to protect your home.
  •  Leave a tap open enough for a pencil-thin stream of flowing water, so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.
  •  Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

 If your pipes are already frozen, consider the following steps to thaw them:

  •  If you have a poorly insulated crawlspace, the frozen pipe may be in this area.
  •  Turn on a tap in the lowest point in the house (i.e. the cold water faucet in the basement).
  • Use a blow dryer to warm the suspected frozen pipe for one to two hours. Check the blow dryer regularly to ensure it does not overheat.
  •  Port Colborne Fire & Emergency Services does not advise the use of an open flame (i.e. blow torch, lighter) to thaw pipes, unless done by a professional who knows what safety procedures are required. Additionally, the use of welding equipment (to heat up pipes) adds additional hazards when attempting to thaw frozen pipes as the heat being radiated through the pipes can cause fires within a building. There have been cases in Niagara where this has caused significant damage to homes.
  •  Place a warm towel or rag around the suspected frozen pipe.
  •  Depending on the outside temperature and the extent of freezing within the pipe, the thawing process could take between one and six hours.

For more information about Frozen Water Services, visit


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