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The City of Winnipeg is keeping a closer eye on frozen water pipes this year.

Tim Shanks, Manager of Water Services says the city has received 402 reports of people without water due to frozen internal plumbing since the beginning of winter, with a large portion of those calls coming during the recent cold snap.  

“We’ve seen an increase over the past few weeks,” Shanks says. “We did see a large call volume around Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and through New Year’s Eve but those calls are starting to drop off a bit.”

Shanks says despite the spike, the city was prepared and responded to every call.

He adds 2/3rds of the frozen pipes crews tended to were thawed out by the following day.  

“We’ll continue to monitor it but we expect to maintain that service for the rest of winter,” Shanks said.

The city will also be monitoring frost depth, which can freeze underground pipes. Shanks says that usually doesn’t have an impact until later in the winter.

He adds people should not run their water as a preventative measure unless instructed to do so by the city.

It’s supposed to warm up throughout the weekend and into next week, but the city is still asking the public to take a few preventative steps to avoid future freezing, including:

  • Insulating areas of your home containing water pipes, including crawl spaces, garages and attics.
  • Insulating water pipes (both hot and cold) near the exterior walls, especially those facing north.
  • Weather-sealing your windows.
  • Checking for air leaks around electrical outlets, dryer vents and pipes. Seal these leaks with caulking or insulation to keep cold air away from your pipes.
  • Heating areas of your home containing water pipes.
  • Keeping the garage door closed if there are water pipes inside.
  • Opening cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near outside walls.

More information can be found on the city’s website.