Preventing water pipes from freezing during extremely cold weather

With extreme cold temperatures forecast to continue over the long weekend, the City of Toronto is reminding residents how to prevent drinking-water pipes in their home from freezing. There are also steps that residents can take if they have no water and suspect their pipes are already frozen. 

Tips to avoid frozen water pipes in the home 
• Consider leaving a tap open enough for a pencil-thin stream of flowing water, so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing. 
• Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing.
• Outdoor faucets are the first to freeze. Unscrew any hoses, turn off the outdoor water supply and let those taps drain.
• Insulate pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, attic and garage. 
• If your pipes are prone to freezing, consider contacting a plumber for advice on how best to protect your home.

Steps to thaw frozen pipes 
• Turn on a tap in the basement, preferably the cold water faucet in the laundry room. 
• Use a blow dryer to warm the suspected frozen pipe for one to two hours. Check the blow dryer regularly to ensure it does not overheat. 
• Place a warm towel or rag around the suspected frozen pipe.
• Depending on the outside temperature and the extent of freezing within the pipe, the thawing process could take between one and six hours. 

Learn more about frozen pipes by visiting If the steps above do not resolve the issue, call 311 or submit a service request online at and someone from the City will investigate. 

This news release is also available on the City’s website:

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