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Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Lots of snow and winter weather offers fun activities like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the back yard. At the same time, winter weather can be difficult on your home. Severely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which can lead to significant water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

If your pipes are frozen solid, you should hire a plumber in Beckley and Mount Hope to handle the problem. Nevertheless, there’s multiple things you can attempt to keep this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are uninsulated water lines. Frequent locations for exposed pipes are within attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running under a modular home. Water lines that are not appropriately insulated are at the biggest risk.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

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

Be careful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they might be caught on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes by yourself, call your local plumbing services professional in Beckley and Mount Hope to handle the job.

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes yourself, popular insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Multiple plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers provide insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are offered in various 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 getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation before then, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper close by, wrapping especially vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort could be just enough to keep the cold air away from the pipes.

One other preventative step you can try to stop pipes from freezing in your home is to seal any cracks that can permit cold air inside your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can draw in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only will this help to stop 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 rooms of your home that have pipes will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets drip even just a little can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is mostly important if you struggle with a room that tends to be colder or hotter than other rooms.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors recommendation is the garage door, which you should keep closed – particularly if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat flowing. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a uniform temperature and leaving it in place, rather than allowing it to get cooler at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re at home, it’s not difficult to recognize when something goes wrong. But what additional steps can you take to stop pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for some time?

As with your primary residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to try at first.

Additional Steps to Stop 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 cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, experts suggest 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 several weeks or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking. Don’t forget to drain the water out of all appliances, including the hot water heater, or the toilets. Make sure you empty all the water from the pipes. If you are not sure of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it on your own, a plumber in Beckley and Mount Hope will be glad to help.