Lots of snow and winter weather brings fun activities like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the back yard. At the same time, winter weather can be difficult on your home. Severely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your plumbing to freeze and burst, which may lead to significant water damage and enduring negative effects.

When your pipes are covered in ice, you should hire a plumber in The Bay Area to resolve the issue. That being said, there’s several tasks you can do to keep this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Prevalent locations for uncovered 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 biggest risk.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

Properly insulating exposed water lines is a great first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll generally locate many of these materials from your local plumbing company, and could also already have some inside your home.

Try not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they can light on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes by yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in The Bay Area to do the job.

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 national retailers sell insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are offered in differing lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to buy insulation before then, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you don't have the chance to buy 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 off the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can take to stop pipes from being covered in ice is to fill any cracks that can permit cold air in your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can allow in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only should this help to keep 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 spaces of your home that have pipes will allow 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 trickle even just a bit can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is particularly important if you have a room that is generally colder or hotter than the rest of the home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors advice 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 stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than permitting it to get lower at night. Set it no lower than 55 degrees.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s easier to know when something goes wrong. But what additional steps can you attempt to keep pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the damages from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for days or even weeks?

As with your primary residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in 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:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren’t going to be there, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no colder than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be out of the house for a long 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 an easy way to stop pipes from freezing and breaking. Remember to flush the water out of your appliances, like the hot water heater, and the toilets. Confirm you get all the water from the pipes. If you’re unsure of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident handling it without any help, a plumber in The Bay Area will be glad to offer support.