Protect yourself against frozen pipes this winter

Don’t be taken by surprise this winter. Take time now to prevent frozen pipes.

Environment Canada is predicting a milder winter than last year, with the potential for above normal levels of snow and rain. That’s bad news for your water pipes. Mild temperatures can lead to a repeating freeze and thaw cycle, which drives frost deeper into the ground, where water pipes are found.

Tips for preventing frozen pipes

As a home or business owner, you can prevent frozen pipes on your property by following these simple practices:

  • Insulate water pipes, especially where they enter your home, where they run along outside walls, and in crawl spaces and attics. Be sure to use approved materials and follow installation safety instructions.
  • Open doors to basements, laundry rooms and pantries to keep water pipes warm.
  • Seal air leaks in your home and garage, especially in areas where water pipes are located.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water pipes in the garage.
  • Leave bathroom and kitchen cupboard doors open if your pipes run along an outside wall. Take care to remove household cleaners and other items that could harm children or pets.
  • Shut off and drain pipes leading to outside faucets (e.g. garden hose).
  • If you’re going away, talk to your insurance company about what you can do to protect your home from frozen pipes and leaks while you’re away.
  • Be prepared for any emergency with a 72-hour emergency kit.

For more tips and information about frozen pipes, and to review the City’s Frozen Water Pipe Policy, visit

About the frozen water pipe policy

The frozen water pipe policy is intended to prevent and manage interruptions to the City’s supply of water, caused by the temporary freezing of water pipes. The policy also clarifies the City’s and homeowners’ and businesses’ responsibilities with respect to water pipes. Homeowners are responsible for water pipes inside their home and all the way to the property line. The City is responsible for water pipes on the public side of the property line.

Frozen water underground diagram

Frost depth and cold temperatures can affect both City and private water pipes

For more information

Water Services