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Frozen Water Pipes


Anytime your heating system fails during the winter months, there is a danger of your water pipes freezing and bursting. The resulting damage can be immense. It is estimated that a burst pipe can result in water loss of approximately 400 litres (or two bathtubs full) per hour. This figure becomes 9,600 litres in a day and 67,200 litres in a week. What most Canadians don’t realize is that a claim for damage relating to burst pipes could be denied by your insurance company unless certain conditions are met.

Most property insurance policies specify that if you’re away from home for more than a few days, you’re required to:

  • Turn-off the main water supply to the house and then let all of the pipes drain — remembering to close each tap again after draining is complete; or
  • Ensure that someone enters the home on a daily basis to help ensure that the heating system is operating correctly.

These practices do make absolute sense, considering that unmonitored homes account for the vast majority of frozen water pipe issues and everyone wants to prevent a burst pipe issue before it occurs. However, each year many Canadians do forget to drain their pipes or make suitable arrangements for monitoring and come back to severely water damaged homes.

People routinely need to be away from their homes for a number of reasons including:

  • Vacations.
  • Travel for business.
  • Visiting relatives.
  • Family-related emergencies.
  • Hospital stays.

The next time you’re planning on being away from home or are called away unexpectedly, remember to address the water pipe issue before leaving. Shutting-off the water and draining your pipes only takes a few minutes and could end-up saving you a costly uninsured repair.