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Square One warns that power outages from ice storms could lead to frozen pipes

December 24, 2013

(Vancouver, BC): The recent ice storms in Ontario and Quebec have left hundreds of thousands of Canadians without power. Square One Insurance warns those without power to watch for, and take steps to prevent against, frozen pipes.

“Power outages combined with colder weather can be a recipe for disaster,” states Daniel Mirkovic, president of Square One. “If your home relies on electricity for heat, the temperature inside can drop below 0 degrees Celsius quickly. At that temperature, the water in your pipes can freeze.”

As water freezes into ice, it expands. This expansion causes pressure to build up in your home’s pipes. This pressure can cause the pipes to burst, which can result in significant water damage to your home and property. So what should you do to prevent freezing pipes?

The most effective way to prevent freezing pipes is to turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. This valve is usually located where the main water line enters the home. Then, drain all the pipes in your home by turning on the facet and letting it run until no water remains. Obviously, this approach can be a major inconvenience if you are staying in your home but it is the best way to prevent freezing pipes.

If you’re not in a position to turn of the water at the main shut-off valve, then turn on all the faucets in your home and allow them to drip. This small flow of water may not prevent freezing, but it may prevent pressure from building up in pipes. If the dripping stops, be sure to leave the faucets open; otherwise, the pressure will build.

If you suspect that the pipes in your home have frozen, don’t take any chances. Instead, Square One recommends you follow these five steps:

  1. Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve.
  2. Open all the faucets in an attempt to relieve pressure from building in the pipes.
  3. Call your home insurance provider to report the potential claim and to ask for assistance.
  4. If your insurance provider doesn’t offer a 24-hour emergency claims service, call a plumber.
  5. Do not try to thaw the frozen pipes on your own as you could damage your home or injure yourself.

For more home insurance tips, visit the advice and support section of our website.