Freezing winters take a toll on everyone and everything we own. GTA residents in particular are no stranger to slippery sidewalks, slushy roads, impossibly cold surroundings, and at worst, broken plumbing fixtures right where they matter most. That’s right — frozen pipes at home are an unfortunate reality of the sub-zero season.
Whether due to their underground layout or ageing materials, pipes can freeze and even burst when continuously exposed to sub-zero temperatures. And because all of that water needs to go somewhere, indoor flooding isn’t far behind. That’s why it’s important to check your plumbing system regularly and weatherproof ageing fixtures, or plan ahead for winter-rated replacements.
All About Frozen Pipes: What to Look Out For
The first sign of frozen pipes is coming home to empty taps. This happens because water freezes and stays lodged in the pipes. When left untreated, they exert pressure on the pipe walls, causing them to crack or burst. Depending on the size, this can result from anywhere between a leak to a full-on flood.
Luckily, frozen pipes are preventable through weatherproofing. Since we know when the temperatures drop to sub-zero, professional plumbers can save you the cost and hassle of a plumbing emergency. All it takes is early detection and proper maintenance. Start by locating pipes that are most likely to freeze, which include:
- Pipes built into external walls, such as those for garden hose spigots
- Pipes under sinks attached to outside walls
- Fixtures in an unheated crawl space, attic, or basement
- Fixtures close to open, drafty, or broken windows, as well as those in poorly insulated walls
- Fixtures not properly wrapped with heating cables, especially hot water pipes, wherein cold air can easily travel.
Repair, Replace, and Winterize Frozen Pipes
Plumbers can help you thaw frozen pipes using carefully applied heat. If the frozen or burst pipe floods your basement, you need this time to dry the area to prevent mould and mildew from forming, as well as remove waterlogged furniture and appliances. Once the pipes are thawed, they check for leaks and perform temporary fixes until you are informed of repair and replacement options.
Depending on the damage, frozen and leaking pipes can be repaired by tightening pipe joints. Plumbers can also apply a protective layer of resin to patch up small cracks and minor damage caused by frozen water.
3. Repair and winterize
In cases of severe damage such as pipes bursting from the pressure, a full replacement is a better, longer-lasting solution. A professional plumber can install new fixtures and add weatherproofing fixtures like heating cables to prevent pipes from freezing again. These fixes are designed to get the taps working again, and restore your home’s water supply once the damage is contained.
Emergency Repair for Frozen Pipes
Drain King Plumbers is available 24/7. Our plumbers can respond to any emergency, including frozen and burst pipes that cause leaks and flooding. You can count on our team to provide fast and effective service wherever you’re located, no matter when it happens. But until then, sit tight — the last thing anyone wants is a DIY repair gone wrong, especially with tricky pipe joints, complex water supply, and waste disposal networks.
We use the latest plumbing techniques and equipment to thaw frozen pipes, repair leaks, and replace burst pipes, so you can turn on the taps again and get the water flowing. But even better, we offer proactive plumbing maintenance and winterizing to prevent all of these plumbing emergencies, so you can cook, clean, and shower without fear of frozen and burst pipes no matter the temperatures outside.
When to Call a Plumber for Frozen Pipes
Our 24/7 emergency plumbing services get the pipes working and the taps running after freezing, or worse, bursting. Should you wait to come home to empty taps, large leaks, or a flooded basement? We all feel the chilly — and even biting — sub-zero temps when they hit, and both exposed and indoor plumbing fixtures are no exemption to Canada’s brutal winters.
Not sure if the pipes are frozen or well on their way to bursting? Look out for these common signs of frozen or poorly winterized pipes and call us first chance you get:
- Strange noises: listen for whistling, banging, clanging, and even bubbling noises coming from the pipes. These often point to freezing or almost-frozen water lodged in the pipes and exerting pressure against the pipe walls — they could be cracking by the minute.
- Foul odours: unpleasant smells coming from the pipes and drains during the colder indicate blockages freezing inside. Sewer backups are already bad on their own, but combined with sub-zero temperatures, burst pipes and flooding are more likely to happen — and messier to clean up.
- Frost and ice build-up: pay extra attention to exposed pipes and check for water and ice build-up. These point to frozen pipe walls and leaks, resulting in ice and water seeping through the cracks.
- Plumbing issues: are you dealing with more plumbing repairs than usual as the temperatures drop? A surge of plumbing problems — even minor ones — could point to frozen pipes that need to be repaired or replaced to eliminate low water pressure, slow drainage, and backups completely.