Snow-covered winter weather presents a great opportunity for things like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. However, winter weather can be hard on your home. Extremely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which may cause severe water damage and lasting negative effects.
If your pipes are frozen, you might need to contact a plumber in West Jefferson to fix them. Nevertheless, there’s multiple things 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 largest risk of freezing are uncovered water lines. Common locations for uncovered pipes are inside attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running underneath a modular home. Water lines that are not appropriately insulated are at the biggest risk.
How to Prevent Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home
Thoroughly insulating uncovered water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes ice free. You’ll likely have access to most of these materials from a local plumbing company, and might also already have some somewhere in your home.
Be mindful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they can light on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes on your own, call your local plumbing services professional in West Jefferson to do the job.
If you do choose to insulate the pipes by yourself, common insulation materials for pipes are:
- Wraps or roll insulation: Many plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers provide insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are sold in various lengths and sizes to fit the needs of your home.
- Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is going to get cold 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 install insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort may be just enough to keep the cold air away from the pipes.
An additional preventative step you can try to keep pipes from freezing in your home is to seal up any cracks that could allow cold air into your home. Focus on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only will this help to stop 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 beneath the sinks and other spaces of your home with plumbing will enable more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
- Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets drip even just a little can help avoid frozen pipes.
- Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is mostly important if you have a room that is frequently 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 closed – namely if your water lines are installed under the garage.
- Keep the heat flowing. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than allowing it to get cooler 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 easier to know when something isn't right. But what added steps can you try to prevent pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for days or even weeks?
As with your primary residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors inside the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to attempt first.
Extra Steps to Stop Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home:
- Leave the heat on. Even though you won't always be home, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down lower than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no lower than 55 degrees.
- Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is a good way to stop pipes from freezing and bursting open. Don’t forget to drain the water out of any appliances, like the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. See to it that you get all the water from the pipes. If you are not sure of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel comfortable performing it on your own, a plumber in West Jefferson will be happy to offer support.