Lots of snow and winter weather brings a fun day sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the back yard. That being said, winter weather can be difficult on your home. Excessively cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your plumbing to freeze and burst, which could lead to severe water damage and lasting negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen solid, you should contact a plumber in Shamokin and Sunbury to resolve the issue. That being said, there’s multiple things you can do to prevent this from happening – and even just a bit of prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at a Higher Chance of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are uncovered water lines. Prevalent locations for uncovered pipes are inside 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 Keep Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Sufficiently insulating uncovered water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes free of ice. You’ll often locate lots of these materials from your local plumbing company, and might also already have some inside your home.

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

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes on your own, good insulation materials for pipes consist of:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers sell insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in various lengths and sizes to satisfy the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to add insulation in time, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you don't have the chance to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort could be just enough to keep the cold air from freezing the pipes.

One other preventative step you can try to stop pipes from being covered in ice is to fill any cracks that can allow cold air into your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly strong drafts. This not only will help to prevent 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 under the sinks and other areas of your home with plumbing will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to get to the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping the water flowing by letting your faucets move even just a little can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is mostly important if there's 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 shut – namely if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat steady. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than letting it get lower at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re at home, it’s easier to know when something breaks down. But what added steps can you try to stop pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the damages from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for days or even weeks?

As with a primary residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to attempt first.

Alternative Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren't currently using the home, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you turn the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no cooler than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be out of the house for a long time or are winterizing a vacation cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is a good way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting open. Try not to forget to flush the water out of any appliances, like the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. Make sure you get all the water from the pipes. If you're uncertain of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure performing it without any help, a plumber in Shamokin and Sunbury will be happy to step in.