Risk of freezing has passed, City says to turn off the taps

Warmer temperatures are starting to thaw frozen pipes

Guelph, ON, April 9, 2015—The City is advising residents who were asked to run a tap to prevent  frozen pipes that these taps can now be turned off. Seasonal temperatures, regularly above freezing, mean pipes are no longer at risk of freezing or refreezing.

“Spring finally seems to be here and we’re seeing frozen pipes starting to thaw,” said Peter Busatto, Water Services plant manager. “Not everyone will thaw quickly; frost thaws in the ground more quickly from the top down, and a few pipes may not thaw until the end of April.”

More than 100 customers affected by frozen pipes have thawed and are back on regular water service. Customers still affected by frozen pipes continue to receive support, and the City is proactively reaching out to affected customers with information about how to check if pipes have thawed .

“We’re working on our end to make billing adjustments so that those who helped their neighbour by providing a water line, or who ran water to prevent freezing by request of the City, won’t be charged for the extra water use,” said Busatto. “It may take two billing cycles for these adjustments to show up but they are in progress now. If customers in these groups don’t see an adjustment after two cycles, they should get in touch with us.”

Checking for leaks

People who had frozen pipes are reminded to check for leaks as pipes thaw, both inside and outside of the house. Pipes may have cracked while they were frozen and could leak as water starts flowing again. Information about how to identify leaks in the house is available at guelph.ca/fix-a-leak. Leaks in underground pipes outside of the house may reveal themselves as continued wet spots on a lawn or changes in grading on a property. People should also contact their insurance provider for information about potential damages or claims related frozen and/or thawing pipes.

Next steps

Home and business owners affected by this issue are encouraged to take preventative actions before next winter to help protect themselves from frozen pipes. This includes ensuring adequate heating and insulation around indoor plumbing, and lowering the privately–owned portion of underground pipes outside of the house where they are buried at shallow depths.

Later this year, staff will report to Council on the issue of frozen pipes with recommendations on additional policies and programs to address the issue of frozen pipes. The City will review and re-prioritize planned infrastructure upgrades for the next few years with the aim of focusing on pipes with a high risk of freezing.

The City will also expand its freeze prevention program to include more properties next winter. This year the program included 148 properties with a history of frozen pipes. Customers were asked to run a trickle of water to prevent freezing. The program was highly effective with only two of those properties experiencing problems this winter.

For more information

Peter Busatto, Plant Manager
Water Services
519-822-1260 extension 2165
peter.busatto@guelph.ca