With the recent onset of freezing temperatures, there is the chance that Hamilton residents may experience frozen water pipes in their homes. Hamilton Fire Department reminds building owners that the use of electrical equipment to thaw pipes may create fire hazards. The use of any electrical equipment to thaw frozen pipes, including arc welders, that is not CSA certified for pipe thawing is a contravention of the Electrical Safety Code and has the potential to start electrical fires in the building or adjacent buildings, even after the pipe thaws.

Should you experience frozen pipes, take the following steps to ensure your safety:
• If the frozen section is under the City’s responsibility, call 905 546-CITY (546-2489).
• If the frozen pipe is the building owner’s responsibility, hire a qualified contractor to thaw the pipes.
• Make sure that any hired contractor uses CSA certified equipment that is designed for thawing water pipes.
• If you attempt to thaw out the pipes yourself use hot water bottles, hot towels, hair dryers or small heaters. DO NOT USE AN OPEN FLAME TO THAW THE PIPE.

The City is responsible for frozen water service lines from the property line to the water main. Building owners are responsible for water service lines from the property line to, and inside their buildings.

Home owners can prevent water pipes from freezing in unheated areas by wrapping the pipes in insulation, opening a faucet to allow a small trickle of water to flow through the pipes, or opening interior doors to let heat from the house warm unprotected pipes in cold cellars and other similar areas.

Business and residential building owners should take similar precautions to ensure that sprinkler piping is not allowed to freeze. A frozen sprinkler pipe will not let water flow, allowing a fire to grow unchecked. There is also the possibility of sprinkler pipes breaking due to ice expansion. Make sure that wet sprinkler systems are adequately protected and that dry sprinkler systems have had all water drained from them.

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