Skip to main content

The Winter Plumbing Checklist: Preparing Your Pipes For Cold Weather

By 8 December 2023Resources

Winter can be brutal here in Manitoba—it’s not unusual for us to see sub-zero temperatures in October and 40℃ below by January. Water in your pipes can freeze exceptionally quickly here—and that’s why we’re exceptionally qualified to tell you exactly how to keep your pipes unfrozen.


We’ve developed a simple 5-part checklist to keep your pipes in perfect condition during the winter. Follow them, and you’ll be far less likely to have plumbing problems when the cold hits. Let’s dive right in! 

1. Take Care of the Water in Your Backyard

And take care of all the water in your front yard, too. Disconnect any garden hoses, sprinklers, and water features. Drain them.  Drain the water from your pool or hot tub. Winterize everything according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Consider getting an insulating cap for your outdoor faucets—it’s not going to do a lot of good in Winnipeg, but any little bit could help. 

2. Protect Your Plumbing System With Insulation

Here in Winnipeg, it’s fairly rare to have any pipes that aren’t in insulated areas—aside from, of course, your outdoor faucets. Anyone who does have exposed pipes should take care to insulate them—though insulation may do little in -40°C. 


There are still advantages to insulating your pipes, though. Insulation helps cold water stay cold, and hot water stay hot. Insulation can increase the energy efficiency of your home, all while limiting the risk of frozen pipes if something goes wrong with your home heating. For these reasons, we’re big advocates of insulated pipes. 

3. Keep Your Home Heated

You might be tempted to turn off your home’s heating when you’re away at work. Smart thermostats make everything easy—turn off the furnace while you’re gone, turn it back on an hour before you get home, and you’re golden—right?


Sadly, that’s not the case—water in pipes can freeze incredibly quickly. We love that people turn down their thermostats when they’re out, but don’t turn it much lower than 15 to 17°C—you want to keep it well above freezing at all times, just to be safe. You can save energy and save yourself the headache of dealing with frozen pipes. 

4. Don’t Let Frozen Pipes Ruin Your Vacation – Get Someone To Check on Your House

Most of us don’t experience frozen pipes when we’re near our homes; we can usually make it back from work before anything terrible happens or we notice that the furnace has gone off. When we’re on vacation, it’s an entirely different story.


Insurance companies will almost never cover frozen pipes that burst while you were on vacation unless you had someone checking on your house daily. We highly recommend getting a daily check-in while you’re away; it can protect you from frozen pipes and help ensure that your insurance plan will cover you in the worst-case scenario.


Your other alternative is to drain all of your pipes and shut off your water before you leave—but who wants to deal with the hassle? Unless you’re a snowbird flying away for months, we recommend the first solution—and even if you are going away for months, regular check-ins aren’t a bad idea. 

5. Inspect Your Plumbing Before Winter Hits

Plumbing problems are never fun, but they’re especially brutal during the holidays. Winter also tends to be pretty busy for plumbers—with all the burst pipes we have to deal with; it might take more time to get to the frozen pipe in your home’s plumbing system. We still offer prompt, emergency services all winter long, but when you’re winterizing your pipes, it’s a great time to inspect your plumbing for the cold months ahead.


Check all of your pipes for leaks. Inspect your water heater for leaks, corrosion, or strange noises. Take the time to look and listen to all of your faucets, taps, and drains for leaks, slow drainage, and other problems. By addressing these problems before the winter months, you’ll be less likely to need to call a plumber for an emergency repair in the dead of winter.


By following this winter plumbing maintenance checklist, you’ll save money on energy costs and expensive repairs, prevent frozen pipes, and keep your home safe. Should you come across any problems or if you need help with maintenance, we offer plumbing services in Winnipeg. We’re here year-round; call us if you need anything!