If you turn on your taps and have no water, the pipes in your home may be frozen. You may want to contact a licensed plumber for assistance. Here are some steps to take if you want to try and thaw the pipe yourself and precautions you should be aware of to protect your home:
- Do not use a torch with an open flame to thaw pipes, as this is a fire hazard.
- Ensure you know the location of your master water shut-off valve. The frozen pipe may be broken and when the water in it thaws it will leak. If the pipe is broken, you will need to shut off the water in your house until the pipe is repaired.
Steps to thaw a frozen pipe
- Turn on a tap in the basement, preferably the cold water faucet in the laundry room.
- Use a blow dryer to warm the suspected frozen pipe for one or two hours. Check blow dryer regularly to ensure it does not overheat.
- 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.
- If these steps do not resolve the problem, contact a licensed plumber.
How to avoid frozen pipes
- If the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water to flow so there is some movement in water pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.
- If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open all taps to drain the water out of your plumbing lines to prevent them from freezing.
- If your water pipes are attached to an uninsulated outside wall, remove the clamp from the pipes and gently pull the pipes away from the wall and wrap with insulation.
- Insulate all exposed outside water pipes with specially designed foam pipe covers, available at building supply or home improvement stores.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Commercial water customers need to prepare for cold nights as well. Protect fire lines by wrapping all lines exposed to cold temperatures.
Information from www.toronto.ca/water