Every winter, a few Selkirk residents will experience freezing water pipes. Often, frozen lines and pipes can be avoided with some simple proactive steps in your home.
Here is some information about how to prevent freezing as well as what to do when you have received a notice from the City or if your pipes are already frozen.
What should you do if your water service freezes
If your house or basement is flooding or if you believe your pipes have frozen, turn off the main water valve and call the Operations Department at (204) 785-4930.
How to prevent frozen pipes
Look for cold draughts – check around your home for areas where water supply lines are in unheated areas and take measures to prevent the flow of cold air in these areas. Common locations include basements, crawl spaces, garages and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Don’t forget both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just like a cold water supply line if water is not running through the pipe and the water temperature becomes cold.
Find your water shut-off valve
Determine where your water shut-off valve is located, learn how to use it and make sure it works. For most homes, the shut-off valve is located near the water meter at the point where the water line comes into your home, which usually is in your basement. If the shut-off valve is broken or seized, please contact a plumber to have it changed.
Be prepared when travelling or leaving home for an extended period of time
Leaving during winter? Keep your thermostat set at 15 degrees or higher and have someone check your house every second day.
Why do service lines freeze?
The frost depth is the depth to which the ground is frozen, which is usually around seven feet every year. It takes several months to reach this depth and usually occurs in late February or early March. In early spring it may seem warmer, but frost is still deep in the ground and stays this way as long as it drops below freezing at night. If we have colder weather in fall months, the frost depth can exceed seven feet and put service lines at risk.
If the ground surrounding the service line becomes frozen, it will cool the already cold water in the pipes and they can freeze. When the water stops moving, the temperature can lower quite quickly and freeze the water. This is why it is important to keep the water running; it keeps warmer water moving through the frost zone.
If your water service is at risk for freezing
If your water service is at risk of freezing, and the City has been previously made aware of the possibility, you may receive a notification instructing you to keep a tap constantly running at a specific volume until the risk of freezing is over. Water bills will be adjusted for this time period for this larger volume use.