Design & DIY

7 tips to keep your plumbing from freezing

A frozen copper pipe against a black background By Paul Tessier/Shutterstock

Getting water to the cottage is only half the battle. Reduce the risk of your indoor plumbing freezing with these tips.

1) Open cupboard doors below your sinks so that warm air can circulate and get to plumbing on the back wall.

2) Open interior doors to promote consistent temperatures throughout the cottage.

3) Seal up holes or cracks around cables and sill plates that allow cold air to blow in.

4) Insulate or install heating cable in sensitive areas (e.g., unheated basement or plumbing that runs on an exterior wall).

5) Have a backup power source. Jeremy Begin, the owner of Cottage Country Plumbing in Bracebridge, Ont., recommends having a generator on hand to power heaters and heating cable in the event of a power outage.

6) Set the heat to at least 13°C when you’re not at the cottage and don’t turn the thermostat down at night.

7) Ask someone to keep an eye on things while you’re away. “Have a property manager, maintenance person, or friend check on your property,” says Begin. Ideally, every couple of days, but at least once a week. He most frequently gets calls about frozen pipes in January, when the temperatures drop to -30°C or -40°C overnight.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2021 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

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