Cold snap freezes water pipes across Greater Victoria

CHEK

Residents across the Greater Victoria region woke up to not just freezing temperatures, but frozen water pipes as well.

Saanich family Samantha Scott, Scott Andrews and their son found their house had no water when they woke up Saturday morning.

“First thing in the morning, the little guy woke up at about 6:30 a.m. and I tried to get a glass of water and [the fridge water dispenser] was slowly but surely trickling down, and I thought that was a bit of a red flag,” Andrews said. “So I went over to the sink to try and fill it a little bit further and there was just no water to be had.”

He said one of their water pipes outside had froze.

Similarly, residents of the Villa Royale, an apartment building near Beacon Hill Park, told CHEK News they woke up to no heat and water, which they believe is linked to the cold snap.

According to local plumbing company Rather Be Plumbing, frozen pipes are causing problems all over the region and their phone has been ringing off the hook.

“The phone has been ringing since 1 a.m. We’ve already booked 12 service calls and we have three on-call plumbers working nonstop,” said Jarod Hughes with Rather Be Plumbing.

He said when temperatures drop into the negatives, the water left in the outdoor pipes freezes, which can cause the pipe to expand and burst.

Hughes said if that happens, it can cause serious issues to a home and the homeowners’ wallet.

“It could cause major insurance claims where you need a restoration company to come out. It could flood out a basement, leaking inside the wall of the basement, or something like that,” he explained.

Hughes said this is why winterizing a home is so important.

SEE ALSO: More daily weather records fall on Vancouver Island amid cold snap

Homeowners should turn off their outdoor taps, disconnect any hoses and put a foam cover over the facet.

“An alternative is just take a towel and wrap it around [the tap] and just tape it and that will be good enough,” he said. “If you don’t have a towel around, another option would be just take some pink insulation from the hardware store, wrap it around and tape it and that will help things.”

He added if the taps are frozen, residents can thaw them by turning them on to what would be a dribble and using a hair dryer on the tap on a low to medium setting to melt the ice.

Hughes also told CHEK News that a number of municipal water pipes in the region aren’t deep enough in the ground, meaning they freeze as well.

Andrews says that is what caused his family to be without water Saturday morning.

The water pipe to his family’s home is just under their driveway, so when he found the there was no water he called the District of Saanich right away.

“I got patched through to, I think, the crew that was doing the work,” Andrews said. “They said they would be able to call within a few hours but that they were getting a lot of calls.”

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The municipal water line that froze is shown. (CHEK News)

Saanich confirmed in an email to CHEK News that crews responded to 30 to 40 calls for frozen pipes Saturday.

Andrews said the crews who responded poured warm water on the pipe to melt the ice, then the family put a towel around the pipe to protect it.

Hughes said homeowners can also turn a cold tap on in their house to a slow drip to keep the municipal water lines from freezing.

Andrews said this was a learning opportunity for his family and they are now building an emergency kit, including lots of water, to keep on hand in case situations like this happens again.

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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