Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Snow-covered winter weather brings fun activities like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the back yard. At the same time, winter weather can be hard on your home. Excessively cold conditions can cause the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which may cause severe water damage and lasting negative effects.

When your pipes are covered in ice, you might need to call a plumber in Kutztown to handle the problem. Nevertheless, there’s multiple things you can attempt to prevent this from happening – and even a little 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. Frequent locations for exposed 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 highest risk.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating exposed water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll likely locate most of these materials from the local plumbing company, and could also already have some someplace in your home.

Be careful not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they may light on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes by yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Kutztown to get the job done right.

If you do choose to insulate the pipes yourself, popular insulation materials for pipes consist of:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and large retailers offer insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are offered in numerous lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to put in more insulation in time, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort may be just enough to keep the cold air from freezing the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can take to stop pipes from being covered in ice is to fill any cracks that may let cold air inside your home. Focus on the window frames, which can allow 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 rooms of your home with pipes will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping the water flowing by letting your faucets trickle even a small amount can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for 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 the rest of the home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors tip is the garage door, which you should keep closed – especially if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat steady. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a persistent temperature and leaving it in place, rather than allowing it to get lower at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s not difficult to know when something goes wrong. But what extra steps can you try to keep pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe may not be discovered for a while?

As with the main residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the basic steps to take.

Alternative Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant 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 lower than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, experts recommend keeping the temperature at no lower than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be away for a long time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting open. Try not to forget to flush the water out of any appliances, including the hot water heater, and the toilets. Confirm you get all the water from the pipes. If you're uncertain of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure performing it yourself, a plumber in Kutztown will be happy to step in.