Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Snow-covered winter weather brings things like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the back yard. However, winter weather can be tough on your home. Excessively cold conditions can cause the water lines in your plumbing to freeze and burst, which can lead to significant water damage and enduring negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen, you should contact a plumber in Pella to fix them. However, there’s several tasks you can attempt to keep this from happening – and even minor prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at a Higher Chance of Freezing

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

How to Keep Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating uncovered water lines is a great first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll often have access to lots of these materials from the local plumbing company, and might also already have some somewhere in your home.

Try not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they can light on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes on your own, contact your local plumbing services professional in Pella to do the job.

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes yourself, good insulation materials for pipes consist of:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers sell insulation – usually fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in various lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is going to get cold and you aren’t able to put in more insulation soon enough, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to install insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort could be just enough to keep the cold air away from the pipes.

One other preventative step you can take to keep pipes from becoming frozen is to seal up any cracks that may allow cold air in your home. Focus on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly intense drafts. This not only will help to keep your pipes from freezing, but it will have the added 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 permit more warm air from the rest of the room to get to the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets drip even just a bit can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more consistently. This is particularly 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 advice is the garage door, which you should keep closed – namely if your water lines run through the garage.
  • Keep the heat flowing. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a uniform temperature and leaving it there, rather than allowing it to get lower at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re inside a house, it’s not difficult to realize when something goes wrong. But what additional steps can you take to keep pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for days or even weeks?

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

Added Steps to Stop Pipes from Freezing in an Unused 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 encourage 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 a long time or are winterizing a vacation cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is an easy way to stop pipes from freezing and breaking. Remember to drain the water out of any appliances, such as the hot water heater, or the toilets. See to it that you clear out all the water from the pipes. If you are not sure of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure performing it yourself, a plumber in Pella will be glad to assist.