Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

The snowy winter weather offers things like sledding down a nearby hill or snowball fights in the back 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.

When your pipes are covered in ice, you should contact a plumber in Paxinos to resolve the issue. However, there’s several tasks you can attempt to stop this from happening – and even minor prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the greatest 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 under a modular home. Water lines that are not correctly insulated are at the highest 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 generally locate most of these materials from your local plumbing company, and could also already have some someplace in your home.

Be mindful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they can light on fire. If you don’t feel confident insulating the pipes yourself, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in Paxinos to get the job done right.

If you do decide to insulate the pipes on your own, good insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and large retailers sell 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 satisfy 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 soon enough, wrap uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper close by, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort could be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can try to stop pipes from becoming frozen is to seal up any cracks that could permit cold air inside your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only should this help to keep 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 beneath the sinks and other areas of your home that have pipes will allow more warm air from the rest of the room to reach the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets trickle even just a little can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is mostly important if there's a room that tends to be colder or hotter than the remainder of your home.
  • 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 can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat flowing. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a persistent temperature and leaving it in place, rather than permitting it to get lower at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

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

As with the main 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 attempt first.

Added 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 leave the heat on – even if you turn the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts recommend 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 several weeks or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, turning the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is a good way to stop pipes from freezing and bursting. Try not to forget to drain the water out of any appliances, including the hot water heater, and the toilets. Confirm you clear out all the water from the plumbing. If you're uncertain of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it on your own, a plumber in Paxinos will be delighted to help.