In and around Winnipeg, we know how to deal with winter weather. We bundle up in layers, have pounds of coffee, tea, and/or hot cocoa readily available, and plug in our cars at night.

Most of us haven’t had to deal with frozen pipes, but those who have, know what a terrible experience it can be. Insurance companies, almost universally, don’t cover for water damage due to frozen pipes if no one was watching them. 

In other words, if you’re on vacation, your furnace stops working, and your pipes freeze and burst, you’re out of luck.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can reduce the chances of your pipes freezing. Let’s take a look:


Keep your home toasty warm

We’re sure this goes without saying for most of you – keep your furnace running, even when you’re on vacation. Be sure to have someone check your home daily, too – just to be on the safe side.


Drain water from exterior pipes

Pipes on your home’s exterior, like the spigot you attach your garden hose to, should be drained before winter comes around. Fortunately, this is a fairly straightforward process. You might also consider insulating your exterior pipes to reduce the chances of freezing if you do forget to drain them.


Run a trickle of water

When water is flowing, it’s less likely to freeze – just look at how long it took the Red River to freeze over this year. By running a trickle of water from one of your faucets, you keep the water in your pipes moving. Obviously, this isn’t optimal because it increases your water bill, but trust us – frozen pipes can cost a lot more. If you can’t get someone to check on your house regularly while you’re on vacation, this can be a stopgap.


Use smart technologies

Frozen pipes are enough of a problem that a whole slew of smart technologies have been developed to keep things running – literally. You can get freeze alarms that send alerts to your smartphone when pipes are at risk of freezing – and you can buy these for $150 or less. If you’ve got a smart thermostat, you may be able to set up freeze alerts already.


You can also get hot water circulating pumps that automatically send a jet of hot water to areas in your pipes where freezing may occur. Of course, for these devices to work, your water heater will need to be functional. Backups for your furnace and water heater are also a good bet.

Using these methods, you should be able to keep your water running all winter long. The most important thing? Know your home, and know your plumbing. We’re in Manitoba, friends – all of your pipes should be insulated and inside where it’s nice and warm. Looking for home insurance in Winnipeg that can help cover for the unexpected? We’re here for you.