Lots of snow and winter weather presents a great opportunity for a fun day sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. However, winter weather can be hard on your home. Excessively cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which could result in severe water damage and long-lasting negative effects.
Once your pipes are frozen solid, you may want to call a plumber in Reinholds to handle the problem. However, there’s multiple things you can perform on your own to prevent this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.
What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing
The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Prevalent locations for exposed pipes are within attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running beneath a modular home. Water lines that are not appropriately insulated are at the highest risk.
How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home
Properly insulating exposed water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes free of ice. You’ll likely have access to lots of these materials from the local plumbing company, and could also already have some inside your home.
Try not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they may light on fire. If you don’t feel confident insulating the pipes by yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Reinholds to handle the job.
If you do decide to insulate the pipes by yourself, common insulation materials for pipes consist of:
- Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers provide insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are sold in differing lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
- Newspaper: In a pinch, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is going to get cold and you aren’t able to add insulation in time, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
- Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to install insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort may be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.
An additional preventative step you can take to stop pipes from freezing in your home is to seal up any cracks that can permit cold air in your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only will this help to prevent your pipes from freezing, but it will have the additional benefit of making your home more energy efficient.
Five More Ways to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing:
- Open the cabinet doors. Opening the cabinet doors underneath the sinks and other rooms of your home that have pipes will enable more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
- Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets move even just a little can help avoid frozen pipes.
- Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more consistently. This is particularly important if you struggle with a room that is generally colder or hotter than other rooms.
- Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors advice is the garage door, which you should keep down – especially if your water lines run through the garage.
- Keep the heat consistent. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a persistent temperature and leaving it there, rather than permitting it to get cooler at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.
How to Stop Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home
When you’re in your own home, it’s not difficult to recognize when something goes wrong. But what extra steps can you attempt to prevent pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe may not be discovered for a while?
As with the main residence, adding insulation to any exposed water lines, opening interior doors inside the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to attempt first.
Added Steps to Stop Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home:
- Leave the heat on. Even though you won't always be home, it’s best to keep the heat on – even if you turn the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no colder than 55 degrees.
- Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be away for a long time or are winterizing a vacation cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is an easy way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting open. Don’t forget to clear the water out of any appliances, such as the hot water heater, or the toilets. Make sure you clear out all the water from the pipes. If you’re unsure of how to flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident performing it on your own, a plumber in Reinholds will be delighted to help.