Plumbing Tips for Canada's winters

Plumbing Tips for Canada's winters
9 min read

When the weather turns cold, plumbing problems can be inevitable. But don’t worry; several winter plumbing tips can help you deal with plumbing issues when the freezing weather hits. Everyone prefers to have frozen faucets and frozen water pipes burst open in the spring rather than in winter, but having a few plumbing tips handy can make all the difference.

Most of us are familiar with the summer plumbing tips like running the water valve at freezing temperatures or keeping an extra hose around, but what about winter plumbing tips? If you’re looking for plumbing advice for cold weather, look no further - we’ve got you covered.

R & Z Plumbing has some great winter plumbing tips that can come in handy to avoid frozen faucets and frozen water pipes bursting open in winter.

Tips for Plumbing in Canada's Winters

If pipes freeze, have a plumbing professional inspect them and make necessary repairs. Also, ensure faucets are turned off, and hose lengths are limited.

When it's cold outside, keep your water pipes and toilets free of sediment and debris by regularly cleaning them with a hose or brush. Additionally, ensure water taps shut off with a valve rather than a hose clamp. Finally, ensure all plumbing fixtures are connected to properly sized plumbing pipes.

Know the main water valve location. 

When winter weather hits Canada, frozen pipes can lead to costly damage. The main water shutoff valve, often in the home’s furnace room or basement, should be turned off to prevent water damage. Additionally, it’s essential to winterize your home’s plumbing properly to avoid costly repairs. Open all faucets one at a time and close them all but one to avoid pressure buildup. This method will help prevent frozen pipes from bursting and causing water damage. Winterizing your plumbing can also include installing an anti-freeze solution in the pipes and adding insulation to the outside of your home to help protect piping from cold temperatures. All these measures can help ensure a safe and comfortable plumbing system this winter.

Inspect the entire plumbing system. 

You can take several steps to ensure the plumbing system inspection is ready for the freezing weather. First, inspect pipes, hoses, and faucets for cracks or leaks before winter weather sets in is essential. Schedule a plumbing inspection from a professional plumber to fix minor issues. Another good idea is to ensure your plumbing system is water-logged.

If you plan on doing any plumbing work during the winter months, it’s best to complete the job as soon as possible so that frozen pipes don’t rupture when the cold weather hits. Additionally, it’s worth considering taking preventive measures to avoid costly plumbing repairs in the future. This method can include installing pipe insulation or heat tape and insulating hot water pipes with insulation foam or Styrofoam insulation.

Drain and cover hose bibs. 

Plumbing in Canada's winter months can be a challenge. To prevent freezing and ensure plumbing issues don't arise, it's essential to drain and cover hose bibs before cold weather arrives. Detach and drain hoses, store them in a warm place, drain excess water, deactivate the shutoff valve, and use covers to insulate bibs. Additionally, close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs and open outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. For best results, contact a professional plumber for help with any plumbing problems. Remember, plumbing issues can become more complex in cold weather, so it’s best to call the professionals if you notice any problems.

Prepare the water heater. 

Preparing your plumbing system for winter can help ensure that your plumbing system stays in good working condition throughout the cold months. When preparing the water heater, ensure it is at the proper operating temperature before winter arrives. Turn off the main water shutoff valve to prevent floods or burst pipes. This process can be done by locating the main water shutoff valve and turning it to the “OFF” position. The water will then flow through a valve that turns the water off. Open all faucets to drain them, and close all but one faucet. Doing this can reduce the freezing of cold water pipe joints and prevent frozen pipes during cold weather. Additionally, insulating exposed pipes with insulation sleeves and wrapping heating tapes around them can help keep pipes from freezing. Ensuring your plumbing system is in good condition before winter can help protect against frozen pipes and other problems during cold weather.

Be cautious of clogged drains. 

Winter plumbing can be a challenge. When the weather is cold, water pipes can become blocked with frozen debris or limescale buildup. If this happens, you can experience issues with your plumbing, such as low water pressure, clogged pipes, or flooding. To prevent problems, you must regularly winterize your sprinkler system to prevent any water from freezing and potentially cracking the pipes. Additionally, consider scheduling a plumbing inspection to identify potential issues and have any plumbing repairs completed. If you experience any plumbing issues or emergencies in winter, contact a licensed plumber for help.

Insulate your pipes 

In cold weather, pipes can freeze and burst, causing water to leak, and freezing pipes can lead to leaks or burst pipes. To prevent frozen pipes, it is essential to insulate exposed pipes. You can do this by using insulation or wrapping the pipe in insulation pipe insulation. The best insulation for winter plumbing is typically rated R-30 or higher [citation needed]. Additionally, cooling insulation such as pipe insulation, blankets, and insulation tape can be helpful. When freezing weather hits, close off all outdoor faucets, drains, and valves to prevent freezing water from flowing into your plumbing system. Additionally, when opening cabinet doors to allow cold air to circulate the plumbing system, close the cabinet doors after each use [citation needed].

Check the sump pump 

Winter plumbing can be challenging, especially when pipes are frozen and water can't flow. To ensure your sump pump is working correctly, it's a good idea to regularly test its power and run it through a complete cycle. Additionally, you should check the area around the pump for signs of water damage, debris, or obstructions that may cause the pump to malfunction. Add insulation to the pipes around the sump pump, if possible, to prevent them from freezing and bursting during cold weather. Finally, consider investing in a backup generator to power the sump pump during a power outage. By taking these steps, winter plumbing can go smoothly.

Check the water heater temperature. 

Set the water heater temperature to 49 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit) to prevent bacteria growth. Turning off your water main and opening faucets one at a time can help drain water from the system. Opening the faucet slowly lets you check for leaks before filling the water heater. You can also install a temperature-controlling device to reduce the risk of scalding hot water. Inspect your home’s plumbing system for potential problems, replace old pipes with new ones, and consider replacing cold and warm ones to reduce freezing and thawing. This winter, be sure to check your water heater temperature and regularly inspect your home’s plumbing system for issues.

Leave a few faucets dripping. 

To prevent frozen pipes and water damage during winter, drain the system of water and open faucets. Consider draining your sprinkler system to prevent freezing and cracking of pipes. Open faucets around your home to empty them and ensure all faucets are closed afterward. Another good winter plumbing tip is scheduling a plumbing inspection to fix minor leaks and problems before winter. This method will help prevent water damage and pipe bursts.

Clean up your yard 

Winter plumbing tips for Canada can help you stay comfortable and efficient during the coldest months. In winter, the outdoor faucets can freeze over quickly, leading to water leaks or damage to pipes. To prevent this, drain your garden hose and cover the hose bibs to protect outdoor faucets from freezing weather. Shut off the water to outdoor faucets before the snow hits.

To winterize your plumbing system, you can contact a professional plumbing company for help with system winterization. This way, you can ensure that pipes are appropriately insulated and securely frozen, protecting them from freezing and bursting during winter. If you have any plumbing problems in winter, contact a professional immediately to avoid problems getting worse or causing more damage.


Plumbing can freeze in your home, causing water to back up and cause problems. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to keep your plumbing operating all winter smoothly long. Just follow these winter plumbing tips to keep your plumbing running this winter!


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