Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Snow-covered winter weather brings a fun day sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. That being said, 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 result in serious water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen solid, you may want to call a plumber in the Bay Area to resolve the issue. Nevertheless, there’s a lot you can try to stop this from happening – and even just a bit of prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at a Higher Chance of Freezing

The pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are uninsulated water lines. Common locations for uncovered pipes are in attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running under a modular home. Water lines that are not correctly insulated are at the highest risk.

How to Keep Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Properly insulating exposed water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes ice free. You’ll often find most of these materials from a local plumbing company, and could also already have some somewhere in your home.

Try not to wrap up other flammable insulation materials where they may be caught on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes on your own, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in the Bay Area to get the job done right.

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

  • 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 offered in numerous lengths and sizes to satisfy the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation soon enough, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to install insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort may be just enough to keep the cold air away from the pipes.

One other preventative step you can take to prevent pipes from being covered in ice is to fill any cracks that could let cold air in your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful 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 underneath the sinks and other areas of your home with plumbing 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 move even just a bit can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more consistently. This is mostly important if you struggle with 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 can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a uniform temperature and leaving it there, rather than permitting it to get cooler at night. Set it no lower than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re at home, it’s easier to realize when something breaks down. But what additional steps can you take to stop pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the damages from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for a while?

As with a primary 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 try at first.

Additional Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant 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 adjust the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no cooler than 55 degrees.
  2. 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, turning the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is an easy way to keep pipes from freezing and bursting open. Try not to forget to drain the water out of your appliances, such as the hot water heater, and the toilets. See to it that you empty all the water from the system. If you are not sure of how to flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it yourself, a plumber in the Bay Area will be delighted to step in.