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Utilities Kingston offers tips to prevent frozen pipes

February 23, 2015 -

Calls to Utilities Kingston about frozen water services have increased due to the unusually cold weather.  The utility company is being kept busy maintaining equipment and has called in contracted resources to assist its customers and help ensure a reliable supply of water. Utilities Kingston reminds customers to keep an eye on indoor plumbing to prevent internal water lines from freezing during bitter cold spells.

Preventative tips

Consider these tips to prevent problems with frozen internal plumbing:

  • If you suspect that your pipes are frozen, don't delay, call a licensed plumber right away.
  • During extended cold snaps, consider leaving a thin stream of water flowing from a faucet. Make sure water runs through uninsulated/unheated pipes at risk of freezing.
  • Locate your master shut-off valve at the water meter. Ensure it is accessible and operating. This way you'll know how to quickly turn off the water if a pipe bursts.
  • Disconnect outdoor hoses so that water can drain from the pipe.
  • Exposed plumbing pipes in exterior walls of your home, unheated basements and crawlspaces could be at risk. Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas like crawl spaces and basements. Avoid direct pipe contact with exterior walls.
  • Seal cracks (for example, around windows) that let air in, which could potentially blow on exposed pipes. Ensure doors and windows are fully closed.
  • Consider installing frost-free outdoor faucets.
  • If you're going away, turn off the master shut-off valve and drain the pipes, including external taps.
  • Consider other systems in your building, including water heaters and water softeners, as they may be affected when your water is off.

Check your plumbing

To check your pipes:  touch exposed cold water pipes, for example in your basement or under the kitchen sink. If a spot feels unusually cold (or colder than in other spots) take measures to provide heat. However, don't delay in calling a plumber, as the problem can get worse.

Measures you can take include insulating pipes and external walls or opening cupboard doors to improve warm air flow. If you have a frozen internal plumbing pipe, try using a hair dryer to thaw it. (Safety first: never leave a heating device unattended and be careful not to weaken plumbing joints.)

Be Prepared

  1. The City of Kingston emergency management plan suggests that each household has at the ready four litres of fresh water, per person, per day for drinking and bathing.
  2. Know the number to call: report utility emergencies to us by calling our 24 hour line at 613-546-1181.
  3. Stay informed: you can keep up-to-date with service disruptions by following Utilities Kingston on Twitter and Facebook, or by checking

Customers are reminded to call a licensed plumber to deal with internal plumbing issues. Review more winter safety reminders from Utilities Kingston at


Media contact: For more information contact Cindie Ashton, media relations officer for Utilities Kingston at 613-546-4291, ext. 3116.