Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Lots of snow and winter weather brings fun activities like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the front yard. That being said, 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 may cause severe water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

If your pipes are covered in ice, you might need to contact a plumber in Neptune City to fix them. That being said, there’s a lot you can do to stop 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 largest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Frequent locations for uncovered pipes are within attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running underneath a modular home. Water lines that are not appropriately insulated are at the biggest risk.

How to Stop Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

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

Try not to wrap up other flammable insulation materials where they can catch fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes by yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Neptune City to get the job done right.

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

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers offer insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in numerous 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 getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation in time, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping especially vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort can be just enough to keep the cold air away from the pipes.

Another preventative step you can attempt to prevent pipes from freezing in your home is to fill any cracks that could allow cold air in your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only will this help to keep 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 with plumbing will permit 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 move even just a little can help avoid frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more consistently. This is especially important if you have 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 down – particularly if your water lines run through the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a uniform temperature and leaving it alone, rather than allowing it to get colder at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s easier to recognize when something isn't right. But what additional steps can you attempt to stop pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for some time?

As with the main residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to take.

Added Steps to Stop Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren't currently using the home, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down lower than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, 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 several weeks or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, turning the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Try not to forget to clear 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 flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it on your own, a plumber in Neptune City will be happy to step in.