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Frozen Pipes Prevention Program

The Frozen Pipes Prevention Program monitors frost levels and identifies homes and businesses that are at risk of frozen water services (pipes).

Letters are sent to these identified customers between December 1 and March 31 annually, making them aware of the program, as well as, advising of the mandatory steps to take to avoid frozen water lines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do service lines freeze?

Homes and businesses can be at risk for a variety of reasons but it is usually due to the depth of the water service pipe. Frozen services are most often found in older communities. To learn more, visit Frozen water lines.

I have received a letter - what should I do?

Often, frozen water lines and pipes can be avoided with simple, proactive steps. The letter will include instructions asking you to do the following:

  1. Turn one inside tap on and leave it running 24 hours per day. The water flow should be approximately the width of a pencil (for residential properties), or as requested (for commercial properties).
  2. A “Turned On” Tag will accompany the letter to help serve as a visual reminder and help prevent the tap from being turned off unintentionally.
  3. Do not turn off your tap until you receive a follow-up letter from The City. It is critical to wait for the follow-up letter as ground temperatures can remain below freezing even if above-ground temperatures warm up.

Why this program is necessary?

  1. Keeping water running is the easiest and most affordable method we can undertake to ensure water pipes remain unfrozen so citizens have access to fresh, clean drinking water.
  2. Frozen service lines can potentially damage homes and businesses, or public and private underground infrastructure.

Why is it important to keep your water running?

During winter conditions, the ground becomes frozen and the depth of frozen ground varies depending on the winter conditions and soil type. If the ground surrounding the water service pipe becomes frozen the water in the pipe could freeze blocking all water flow through the pipe.

Moving water prevents ice from forming all the way through the pipe and helps maintain the flow of non-frozen water.

I didn’t get a letter but my neighbour did. Why?

Using historical data and installation information, The City identifies the water pipes that are vulnerable to freezing.

Your neighbour’s property has been assessed and is vulnerable to freezing whereas your service is not. If your water service pipe freezes, visit Frozen water lines.

How does The City identify homes and businesses for the program?

The City uses historical data and installation information to identify homes and businesses with water services that are at risk of freezing during the winter months.

The frost levels are monitored throughout the winter months and houses and businesses are activated as the depth of frost moves deeper into the ground.

How are water services billed during the program?

Residential Properties: If your service is on a water meter, you will be charged at a flat usage rate of 7 m3 per month (for water and wastewater) for the period of time that you will be asked to keep a tap running.

Commercial Properties: Your bill will be credited based on the service size. The credit amount will be communicated to you at the on the letter sent to you for activation.

When can I turn my running water off?

The City will send you a letter when it is time to turn your running water off. Do not turn your faucet off prior to receiving this letter, even if the weather warms during the spring or a chinook. Doing so, may result in frozen pipes.

What should I do if my water service freezes?

If your house or basement is flooding, turn off the main shut-off valve and call 311. If you believe your pipes have frozen, turn off water at the main shut-off valve and call 311 to help triage the issue.

Learn more about Frozen water lines.