Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Snow-covered winter weather brings things like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the front yard. That being said, winter weather can be tough on your home. Excessively cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your plumbing to freeze and burst, which can lead to serious water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

If your pipes are frozen, you might need to call a plumber in Reinholds to resolve the issue. Nevertheless, there’s multiple things you can try to prevent this from happening – and even minor prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are uninsulated water lines. Prevalent locations for uncovered pipes are within attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running beneath a modular home. Water lines that are not properly insulated are at the biggest risk.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating uncovered water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes ice free. You’ll often have access to many of these materials from a local plumbing company, and may also already have some someplace in your home.

Try not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they might be caught on fire. If you don’t feel confident insulating the pipes on your own, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in Reinholds to handle the job.

If you do choose to insulate the pipes yourself, good insulation materials for pipes include:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers offer insulation – usually fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are sold in differing lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to put in more insulation before then, wrap uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you don't have the chance to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort could be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

One other preventative step you can attempt to stop pipes from freezing in your home is to seal up any cracks that could permit cold air in your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can draw in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only will this help to keep your pipes from freezing, but it will have the extra 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 spaces of your home with pipes will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to get to the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets trickle even just a bit can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is especially important if you have a room that is generally colder or hotter than other rooms.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors tip is the garage door, which you should keep down – especially if your water lines run through the garage.
  • Keep the heat steady. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it there, rather than permitting it to get cooler at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re at home, it’s easy to know when something breaks down. But what added steps can you attempt to stop pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for some time?

As with a primary residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the basic steps to try at first.

Other Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you won't always be home, it’s best to keep the heat on – even if you adjust the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no cooler than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is one way to stop pipes from freezing and breaking. Don’t forget to clear the water out of any appliances, such as the hot water heater, and the toilets. See to it that you empty all the water from the system. If you are not sure of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident performing it on your own, a plumber in Reinholds will be happy to step in.