Lots of snow and winter weather offers things like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the back yard. That being said, winter weather can be tough on your home. Extremely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which can cause serious water damage and long-lasting negative effects.
If your pipes are frozen solid, you may want to call a plumber in West Jefferson to handle the problem. Nevertheless, 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 Risk of Freezing
The pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Common locations for exposed pipes are inside attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running underneath a modular home. Water lines that are not correctly insulated are at the greatest risk.
How to Stop Pipes from Freezing in Your Home
Properly insulating uncovered water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes free of ice. You’ll generally have access to many of these materials from the local plumbing company, and may also already have some somewhere in your home.
Be mindful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they may catch fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes on your own, call your local plumbing services professional in West Jefferson to get the job done right.
If you do prefer to insulate the pipes yourself, good insulation materials for pipes include:
- Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers offer insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in various lengths and sizes to fit the needs of your home.
- Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation before then, 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 final effort can be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.
Another preventative step you can try to keep pipes from being covered in ice is to seal any cracks that can permit cold air in your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can draw in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only should 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 underneath the sinks and other rooms of your home that have pipes will allow 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 trickle even just a bit can help prevent 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 the remainder of your home.
- Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors recommendation is the garage door, which you should keep shut – particularly if your water lines are installed under the garage.
- Keep the heat consistent. Experts encourage 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 an Unused Home
When you’re at home, it’s not difficult to realize when something isn't right. But what extra steps can you attempt to stop pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for a while?
As with a 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.
Other Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home:
- Leave the heat on. Even though you won't always be home, it’s best to keep the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down lower than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no colder than 55 degrees.
- Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be out of the house for an extended period of time or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Remember 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 unsure of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it on your own, a plumber in West Jefferson will be glad to offer support.