Winter

 

To help you prepare for winter, we have published an online resource to help ensure you’re ready for cold weather, and to help avoid unnecessary costs and inconvenience this season.

 

Know the Location of your Water Meter 

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Closing Your Vacation or Primary Home for the Winter?

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

Suspect Your Pipes are Frozen?

Severe Winter Weather

Winter Electricity Conservation Tips 

 

 

Know the Location of your Water Meter

The location is important to know, as it contains the main shut off valve, which you may need to access in case of an emergency. If you need any help locating your meter, please contact us. Meters are often located where the service enters the house, which could be a basement, under the sink, in a closet, behind a washing machine, in a crawl space, etc. In some cases, the meter is difficult to access. If this is the case and you experience a water emergency, please contact us for assistance.

 

 

Preventing Frozen Pipes 

Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy, inconvenient and often expensive issue of frozen pipes.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold. In many cases, these include: outdoor faucets, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas that could include basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose faucets. Open the outside hose faucets to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. 
  • If you've opened air vents to crawl spaces in the warm weather, ensure you've closed / sealed these vents prior to the cold weather.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" orinstalling UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Many products are available at your local building supplies retailer. Pipes should be carefully wrapped, with ends butted tightly and joints wrapped with tape. Follow manufacturer's recommendations for installing and using these products. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes - even ¼" of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

 

 

Closing Your Vacation or Primary Home for the Winter?

  • Adjust your thermostat. You don't need to keep your home cozy and livable temperature, but you do need it to stay around 50 - 55 degrees or so to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Shut off the water at the main shut off valve in your house. The last thing you want to come back to next spring is a flooded home from a leaky or burst pipe. It is a good idea to open up all your faucets and drain your toilets of water — also keep the faucets open to prevent pressure buildup from the little bit of water that remains in your pipes. This will help prevent a burst pipe as the water expands with changing temperatures. A plumber can help you with winterizing if you are unsure how to prepare your pipes for winter.
  • Turn off your gas line to prevent a gas leak or other gas related incident.
  • Bundle the house up tight! If you are in an area prone to nasty storms, put storm windows on, close shutters, secure plywood over windows, store all outside décor or furniture indoors for the season, too. Make sure that all the windows are closed and locked. Check each one because any window that is open even a tiny crack can let snow and rain into your home.
  • Unplug everything. Not only will this save you money as your unused appliances will not be using phantom energy, it also protects the house from an appliance shorting out and causing a fire or a surge of energy ruining your appliances.
  • Tell your neighbors. Make sure they're aware of your move, so they can keep an eye on your property — inform them if anyone will be checking on the house regularly.
  • Check your sump pump. Make sure it functions properly.
  • Close the damper or flue on your fireplace. This will prevent snow, rain or animals from finding a way into your home.
  • Double check your gutters. Don't leave the gutters clogged. Drain spouts should be secured to take heavy rain away from your house.

 

 

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

  

 

Suspect Your Pipes are Frozen?

  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
  • Check with neighbours to ensure a water main break hasn’t occurred.  If you see water seeping, bubbling or flowing up from a crack in a yard, gutter, sidewalk or street, please contact us with the location.  
  • Entegrus does not recommend thawing frozen pipes yourself. Contact a certified plumber to discuss your best plan of action regarding frozen pipes. 

 

 

Severe Winter Weather

In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company or local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity.

Preparing for a storm that may result in a power outage:

  • Check flashlights and battery-powered portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries. A radio is an important source of weather and emergency information during a storm.
  • Review and replenish your emergency kit.
  • Have sufficient heating fuel, as regular sources may be cut off. Have emergency heating equipment and fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove or fireplace) so you can keep at least one room livable. Be sure the room is well ventilated.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep cold air out.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide insulation.
  • To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture (see above re: preventing frozen pipes)
  • Know how to shut off water valves.
  • If your water supply could be affected (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water. Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water. (Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet).
  • Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door. Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).  Covering the freezer with blankets, quilts, crumpled newspaper or excelsior will help keep the food frozen.
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.
  • Review the process for manually operating an electric garage door.

 

During an Outage

  • Dress for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Mittens are better than gloves.
  • Wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages, if the victim is conscious. Get medical help, as soon as possible.
  • Snowdrifts can be used as a makeshift freezer for food. (Be aware of attracting animals).
  • Snow can be melted for an additional water source.
  • In order to protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TVs, stereo, VCR, microwave oven, computer, cordless telephone, answering machine and garage door opener.

After an Outage

The Electrical Safety Authority offers the following tips for around your home after a power outage:

When flood water rises above electrical outlets or power cords or is near the electrical service panel, it could be energized. Contact your local electric utility to disconnect the power immediately.

  • Do not plug in or use electrical appliances that have been wet until they have been checked by a licensed electrical contractor or serviced by the manufacturer.
  • Look out for flood damage
    • Do not touch! Even if you think the power is off.
    • Stay at least 10 metres or 33 feet (about the length of a school bus) back from the wires.
    • Do NOT attempt to repair yourself.
    • Contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor to make repairs. Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor in My Area.
    • Do not use electrical appliances that have been affected by water. Hire a qualified appliance repair person to check for and repair any damage.

For more tips on winter weather visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.  

 

 

Winter Electricity Conservation Tips:

  • Check for drafts around windows, doors and electrical outlets.  Installing an outlet and switch sealer kit will prevent cold air from entering through electric outlets and switches.
  • Open your curtains and blinds to let the sun warm the room, and then close them at night to reduce heat loss through windows
  • Temperature levels in your home are a matter of individual choice, but the most commonly recommended settings are 20°C (68°F) during the day, 18°C (64°F) for sleeping, and 16°C (61°F) when you are way from home.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature settings.
  • Properly humidified air feels warmer and allows you to turn your thermostat down.  During the heating season, the relative humidity in your home should be no higher than 30% and no condensation on your windows.  In bitter cold weather, the humidity will need to fall below 30% to prevent condensation on windows.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or (LEDs)
  • Close the heat registers in unused rooms and close the door.
  • An un-insulated basement has a high heat loss so adding interior insulation will help improve your home’s overall energy efficiency.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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