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Homeowner insulates pipes in a Toronto garage to prevent frozen plumbing

How to Prevent Your Plumbing From Freezing in an Unheated Garage Or Basement

Why Is It Important to Prevent Plumbing From Freezing in an Unheated Garage or Basement?

If you’re currently live in Toronto, you know that winter can be brutal. Temperatures can drop well below freezing, and this can be especially problematic if you have plumbing in an unheated garage or basement. 

When water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipes to burst, leading to costly repairs and potential water damage. 

In this post, we’ll provide a guide on how to prevent your plumbing from freezing in an unheated garage or basement, so you can avoid these issues.

Insulate Your Pipes

One of the most effective ways to prevent your plumbing from freezing is by insulating your pipes. This involves wrapping your pipes in insulation to keep them warm. 

There are several types of insulation you can use, including foam and fiberglass. Insulating your pipes can help keep them at a safe temperature, even in extremely cold temperatures.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Identify the pipes that are most at risk of freezing. These are usually the pipes that are located in the coldest parts of your home, such as your garage or basement.
  • Purchase foam pipe insulation from your local hardware store.
  • Cut the insulation to fit around the pipes, and secure it in place using duct tape.
  • For added protection, consider installing heat tape around the pipes. Heat tape is an electrical heating element that wraps around the pipes and keeps them warm.

Seal Any Gaps

In addition to insulating your pipes, it’s important to seal any gaps that may let cold air into your garage or basement. This can include gaps around windows and doors, as well as any holes or cracks in the walls. 

By sealing these gaps, you can help keep the heat inside and prevent your plumbing from freezing. Here’s how to seal any gaps:

  • Inspect your home’s exterior for any gaps or cracks. These can be found around doors, windows, and vents.
  • Use caulk to seal any gaps or cracks that you find. Caulk is a sealant that can be applied to any surface and will prevent cold air from entering your home.

Keep the Heat On

Another important step is to keep the heat on in your garage or basement. Even if you don’t spend much time in these areas, keeping the heat on can help prevent your plumbing from freezing. 

Here are some tips for keeping the heat on:

  • Set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit: This will help to maintain a minimum temperature in your home, which will prevent your pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the heat on in your home, even if you’re not there. Set your thermostat to a temperature that will keep the temperature above freezing. 
  • If you’re going to be away from your home for an extended period, consider asking a friend or neighbor to check on your home and ensure that the heat is still on.
  • Check your heating system regularly: Regular maintenance of your heating system can help to ensure that it’s working properly and efficiently.

Open Cabinet Doors

If you have plumbing under your sinks in your garage or basement, opening the cabinet doors can help keep them warm. 

This allows warm air to circulate around your pipes, which can prevent them from freezing. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open the cabinet doors under your sink.
  • This will allow warm air from your home to circulate around your pipes and prevent them from freezing.

Opening your cabinet doors is a simple and effective way to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Let Your Faucets Drip

When the temperature drops below freezing, letting your faucets drip can help to prevent your pipes from freezing. Here’s why:

  • Letting your faucets drip can help to relieve the pressure that builds up in your pipes when they freeze.
  • When your faucets are dripping, it helps to keep the water in your pipes moving, which makes it less likely to freeze.

To let your faucets drip:

  • Turn on the faucet: Turn on the faucet and allow it to drip slowly.
  • Let it drip: Let the faucet drip until the temperature outside has warmed up and there is no longer a risk of freezing.

Drain Your Pipes

If you’re going to be away from your home for an extended period during the winter months, it’s a good idea to drain your pipes. This will prevent any water from freezing in your pipes and causing them to burst. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn off the main water valve to your home.
  • Open all of the faucets in your home and let the water drain out.
  • Once all of the water has drained out, close the faucets and turn the main water valve back on.

Use Heating Solutions

If you have a particularly cold garage or basement, you may want to consider using a space heater or similar indoor heating solution to keep the room temperature above freezing. Here’s how to use a space heater safely:

  • Purchase a space heater that is designed for indoor use.
  • Keep the space heater away from anything that could catch on fire, such as curtains or furniture.
  • Only use the space heater while you’re in the room, and turn it off when you leave.

Consider a Permanent Solution

If you’re tired of worrying about your plumbing freezing every winter, consider a more permanent solution. Here are some options to consider:

Install a Heating System

Installing a heating system in your garage or basement is a permanent solution to prevent your plumbing from freezing. 

This can include installing a heating unit, such as a furnace, that is connected to your home’s heating system. 

A heating system will provide consistent heat to your garage or basement, keeping the space warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Move Your Plumbing

If you’re planning to renovate your garage or basement, consider moving your plumbing to a heated area. This may involve moving your washing machine, water heater, or other plumbing fixtures to a warmer part of your home. 

While this may be a more expensive option, it will provide a permanent solution to prevent your plumbing from freezing.

Replace Your Pipes

If moving your garage or basement plumbing is not possible, consider replacing your pipes. Newer pipes are often better insulated, which will help to prevent them from freezing. Here are some things to consider:

  • Contact a licensed plumber to inspect your plumbing system and determine if your pipes need to be replaced.
  • If your pipes do need to be replaced, consider using PEX piping. PEX is a type of plastic piping that is more flexible and resistant to freezing than traditional metal pipes.


Preventing your plumbing from freezing in an unheated garage or basement is important for any homeowner in Toronto. 

By insulating your pipes, sealing gaps, keeping the heat on, opening cabinet doors, letting your faucets drip, and using heating solutions, you can prevent your plumbing from freezing and avoid costly repairs. 

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, consider installing a heating system or moving your plumbing to a heated area. 

By following these tips, you can ensure that your plumbing stays in good working condition and avoid the headache of dealing with frozen pipes.

True Service Plumbing – Your Reliable Plumbing Partner in Toronto

At True Service Plumbing, we understand the importance of having reliable plumbing in your home or business. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-quality plumbing services to customers in Toronto and the surrounding GTA.

If you’re dealing with frozen pipes in your unheated garage or basement, our licensed professionals are here to help. We offer a range of solutions, from insulating your pipes to installing heating systems, to ensure that your plumbing stays in good working condition throughout the winter.

Whether you need routine maintenance or emergency repairs, our team is always ready to provide fast and effective plumbing services. 

Don’t let plumbing issues disrupt your daily routine. Contact True Service Plumbing today and experience the benefits of reliable plumbing in your home or business.

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