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Reduce the risk of frozen water pipes during extreme cold temperatures

HAMILTON, ON – With approximately 50 homeowners in Hamilton reporting frozen water pipes in recent days, the City is reminding residents to take steps to reduce the risk of frozen water pipes during colder winter temperatures.

Homeowners can prevent water pipes from freezing by:

  • Sealing air leaks in the home and garage
  • Wrapping pipes in unheated areas with insulating sleeves
  • Disconnecting, shutting off and/or draining all outdoor hoses and taps
  • Opening a cold water faucet to allow a small trickle of water to flow through the pipes (about the width of a pencil).
  • Opening kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage

The City of Hamilton is responsible for frozen water service lines from the property line to the water main. Building owners are responsible for water service lines from the property line to – and inside – the building(s). To date this winter, all reported frozen water service lines have been on private property.

Homeowners that experience frozen pipes should take the following steps:

  • Call 905 546-2489 to report the frozen water service.
  • If the frozen pipe is the building owner’s responsibility, hire a qualified contractor to thaw the pipes.
  • Make sure that any hired contractor uses CSA certified equipment that is designed for thawing water pipes.
  • Any homeowner attempting to thaw out pipes without a qualified contractor should use hot water bottles, hot towels, hair dryers or small heaters.
  • Never use an open flame to thaw a water pipe.

Business and residential building owners should take similar precautions to ensure that sprinkler piping is not allowed to freeze. A frozen sprinkler pipe will not let water flow, allowing a fire to grow unchecked. There is also the possibility of sprinkler pipes breaking due to ice expansion. Make sure that wet sprinkler systems are adequately protected and that dry sprinkler systems have had all water drained from them.

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