As winter sets in, the risk of freezing pipes increases, leading to the potential of significant damage to your home. Frozen pipes can burst, causing flooding and expensive repairs. Fortunately, there are preventative measures that homeowners can take to avoid such a chilly disaster. In this post, we’ll look at practical tips to help you prevent pipes from freezing in your home.
Why Do Pipes Freeze?
Water expands when it freezes, putting enormous pressure on pipes, which can cause them to burst. Pipes located in unheated interior spaces like basements, attics, and crawl spaces are especially prone to freezing.
Tips for Preventing Freezing Pipes
1. Insulate Exposed Pipes
- Wrap pipes in insulation sleeves or even old towels to provide an extra layer of protection.
- Foam insulation can also be used for this purpose and is available at most hardware stores.
2. Keep the Heat On
- Maintain a consistent temperature in your home, both day and night.
- Don’t lower the thermostat drastically, especially if you’re going away.
3. Open Cabinet Doors
- Opening cabinet doors allows warm air to circulate around plumbing.
- Make sure to move any harmful cleaners or chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
4. Let Faucets Drip
- A small trickle of water can prevent pipes from freezing by relieving built-up water pressure.
5. Seal Leaks and Cracks
- Use caulk to seal any cracks or holes in your home’s walls, floors, and foundation near water pipes.
6. Apply Heat Tape or Heat Cables
- For pipes that are easily accessible, electrical heat tapes or heat cables can be applied directly to the pipes.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products.
7. Keep Garage Doors Closed
- If water supply lines are in the garage, keeping the door closed can conserve heat.
8. Drain Outdoor Faucets
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors.
- Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs, and open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain.
9. Monitor the Weather
- Be extra vigilant when there are extreme cold weather forecasts.
10. Plan for Travel
- If you plan to be away from home for an extended period, consider draining your water system to prevent frozen pipes.
What to Do If Pipes Freeze?
- Thawing Frozen Pipes: If you notice that a pipe has frozen, you can use a hairdryer, heat lamp, or portable space heater to help thaw it. Never use an open flame.
- Call a Professional: If you are unable to locate the frozen pipe, or it is not easily accessible, it’s best to call a professional.
Preventing frozen pipes is far less costly and stressful than dealing with the aftermath of a burst pipe. Taking simple preventative measures can save homeowners thousands of dollars and immense hassle. So before winter takes its full toll, make sure your pipes are well-protected against the freezing temperatures. Stay warm, and stay dry!