null 4 ways to prevent frozen pipes (and what to do if they freeze anyway)

How to prevent your pipes from freezing

1. Drain outside water lines

Water lines in unheated or uninsulated areas are most at risk for freezing. Before winter arrives, turn off and drain any outdoor water lines.

2. Keep the heat on

If you’re going away for long periods during the colder winter months, it can be tempting to turn your heat off to save a few extra dollars. While it’s okay to reduce the temperature by just a few degrees in your absence, don’t lower it to single digits or shut it off completely as this can lead to frozen pipes and costly water damage repairs.

3. Keep interior doors open and garage doors closed

Keep your bathroom doors open to ensure the heat in your home is able to circulate freely to the rooms with the most plumbing. If you have water pipes in your garage, keep the garage doors closed to prevent freezing. You may also want to consider opening your kitchen cabinet, vanity and closet to allow better air and heat flow.

4. Think prevention before you go away

No one wants to come back to a flooded house after their vacation, so prep your home before you leave for a long period of time:

  • Turn off the water main to drain the water pipes.
  • Start at the top floor of the house and turn on all the taps and flush the toilets.
  • Drain your hot water tank by turning off the inlet valve, attaching a hose to the tank drain and running the water into the basement floor drain.
  • Pour 500 ml of plumbing antifreeze into the water outlet of each sanitary appliance (shower, bath, sink, toilet, etc.) and one liter directly into the bottom of the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Unhook and drain the hoses from your washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator ice machine.
  • Ask a friend to check on your house.
  • Notify your insurer of your extended absence

Extra steps you can take to prevent damage

Move exposed pipes

Ask a professional to relocate exposed pipes to protect them from freezing, especially if you’ve had issues with frozen pipes in the past.

Insulate pipes

Insulate any water pipes in the unheated areas of your house, like the basement, garage and attic. Insulated pipes help reduce heat loss and keep water from freezing when temperatures drop and they can also help reduce your heating bill.

Sign up for Alert

If you’re insured with The Personal, you can protect your home from anywhere with the AlertTM program. Once you’ve signed up and installed your detectors, you’ll receive notifications on your phone if Alert senses a water leak, a risk of frozen pipes, smoke, intruders, and more.

Thawing frozen pipes

Despite your best efforts, your pipes can freeze during an extreme cold spell. If you turn on your taps and only a trickle of water comes out, or the water pressure suddenly drops, you might have a frozen pipe. Here’s what to do:

  • Shut off the main water valve.
  • Warm the frozen pipes with a hair dryer, heating pad or portable space heater. Don’t use a blowtorch—it could damage plastic pipes or cause a fire.
  • If you can’t reach the frozen pipe, or it won’t thaw, call a licensed plumber.
  • Keep the nearest faucet turned on while treating a frozen pipe. As it melts, water will begin to flow through the faucet.
  • Check the other faucets in your home—if one pipe freezes, others might too.
  • Before turning on the water again, check for broken or damaged pipes—when in doubt, call a plumber. Better to spend a little money making sure everything is good than risk more damage to your home.
  • If you do have water damage, call your insurance company.

For more on this topic, visit:

Water damage: What every homeowner should know

Stay safe with RadarTM: All-new weather alert service

4 ways to prevent frozen pipes (and what to do if they freeze anyway)

Is your home at risk for frozen pipes if you leave for an extended period? Water damage caused by burst pipes is a real threat during harsh Canadian winters. Here’s your guide to reducing the risk of your pipes freezing—and tips for thawing them out if they do.

The Personal refers to The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories.

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and The Personal cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

Some conditions, exclusions and limitations may apply. The conditions of the coverages described are set out in the insurance policy, which always prevails.

RadarTM is a trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Group Inc., used under licence.

AlertTM is a trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Group Inc., used under licence.