How to help Protect Your Pipes from Freezing

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When winter comes in Canada, frigid temperatures and frequent flurries are the norm, making your home vulnerable to a number of potential problems. Helping to protect your water pipes from freezing should top your to-do list this winter, as frozen pipes can leave you with no water or, worse, burst, potentially leading to expensive damage to your property. Take these steps to help prepare your pipes for winter and avoid having to make any home insurance claims this season.

Help Prevent your pipes from freezing

Insulate pipes that are prone to freezing during the winter, like those in the crawlspace underneath your home, in the attic, and exterior walls. You can do this with foam pipe covers that are available at most home improvement stores. Make sure that the foam covers fit tight without gaps, and consider applying duct tape to joints in the insulation so that your pipes are completely covered.

Seal air leaks in your home and garage to stop cold air from getting in. Caulk and weather stripping can be used around doors and windows that leak air. For larger gaps, use low-expansion spray foam. Spray foam expands to seal any form of leak quickly. You can check with your local hardware store to find out what options are available.

Turn off any outdoor water supplies that are at risk of freezing during the winter, and drain outside hoses, pipes and taps. Close any inside water valves that supply outdoor hose bibs.

What to do if your pipes freeze
Despite your best efforts, living in Canada means there’s always a risk that extreme conditions can freeze your pipes. If you wake up and turn on the faucet to find that no water is coming out, your pipes may be frozen. Leave the faucet on, and as you treat the pipes and the water beings to thaw, it will slowly begin to run, which will help speed up thawing. Here are some other measures you can take if your pipes are frozen:

Consider applying heat to sections of your pipe that could be prone to freezing using an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater, or by wrapping pipes with towels that have been soaked in hot water. You can also purchase heat tape to wrap around your pipes that have a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating.

Know where the main water shut-off valve is, and how to use it. If your pipes ever do burst and begin to flood your home, you’ll need to turn off the water using the main shut-off valve immediately.

Make sure to turn off the water at the main service valve in the basement if you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time, as many Canadian snowbirds do during this time of year. Open the taps to drain the water from your plumbing lines and have someone check your home regularly.

If you suspect a burst pipe or wake up to a flooded home, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and call a plumber immediately.

How to make a claim

Call 1-877-251-8656 to speak with a Claims Advisor.

Renewing your policy

Call 1-877-251-8652 for information regarding policy renewal.

Buying a new policy

Call 1-866-660-9035 for information on obtaining a quote.

Need help?

Take a look at the top 5 FAQs:

  • Why should I have home insurance?

    Why should I have home insurance?

    While the government doesn't require you to purchase home insurance, your mortgage-holder probably will - at least enough to cover its share of ownership. There are various kinds of home insurance that cover general and specific kinds of damage to your home, and you should research your options carefully. You can also buy specialized insurance to cover a condominium, home business, or other kind of property or valuables found in your home.

    Home insurance also includes liability coverage for people who are hurt on your property.

  • Why should I buy tenant's insurance when I live in an apartment and don't have many contents or valuables?

    Why should I buy tenant's insurance when I live in an apartment and don't have many contents or valuables?

    Most people would be surprised at the value of their personal property if they were to add it up and have to replace it all immediately. Think about your furniture, clothing, electronic equipment-then try to put a price tag to it all. Also, if you've purchased items on credit and they are stolen or destroyed by fire, you could still have to make the payments.

    Tenants insurance also includes liability insurance for damage the tenants or their guests cause to the building, for injuries in the rented home, etc.

  • How can I earn PC® points?

    How can I earn PC® points?

    When you use your President's Choice Financial® MasterCard® to pay your PC home insurance premium, you'll get 20 PC points per dollar of your premium. If you use your President's Choice Financial bank card to pay your PC home insurance premium, you'll get 10 PC points per dollar of your premium.

  • What is a deductible?

    What is a deductible?

    A deductible is your share of the amount that needs to be paid to cover the repair or replacement of your covered property before your insurance pays the rest.

  • How are premiums calculated?

    How are premiums calculated?

    The building itself has a lot to do with how your home insurance premiums are set. Many things about your home are taken into consideration including:

    • Its age and size
    • Type of building (detached, semi, high rise, etc)
    • Type of construction (brick, stucco, wood, etc)
    • Type of heating system
    • How close it is to a fire hydrant or fire station
    • Where it is located

See all Home Insurance FAQs

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