Public Safety

Be responsible when thawing frozen pipes (10/02/11)

NB 197

Feb. 11, 2010

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Do not attempt to thaw a frozen pipe with a torch or other form of open flame, the Office of the Fire Marshal reminds New Brunswickers.

The warning was issued after an increase in propane torch fires during a recent stretch of extremely cold weather.

"These fires have resulted in the death of a home owner and the loss of millions of dollars in property loss," said acting Fire Marshal Norman Thibodeau. "These preventable fires are the result of improperly using an open flame to thaw frozen pipes."

There are a number of safe ways to thaw frozen pipes, but the safest is call a qualified professional: a plumber for water pipes and an oil furnace technician for oil pipes.

"The cost of a qualified professional is far less than the cost of damages that can be caused by improperly thawing pipes, and avoids the worst-case scenario, which is loss of life," Thibodeau said. "While the weather has become milder, there is still the chance of further cold stretches this winter, and we want to remind people to always act responsibly and to be safe."

Frozen water pipes need to be dealt with immediately because the frozen water can cause enough pressure to rupture the pipe, leading to water damage.

Here are some tips on preventing your pipes from freezing and how to thaw them if they are frozen:

Before the cold hits

When the cold weather arrives

If your pipes freeze


MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Cumby, communications, Department of Public Safety, 506-444-5267.