The need to prevent the pipes in your home from freezing has more to do with the aftermath than the actual freezing of the water in the pipes. We’ve compiled some great tips below to help you to avoid not only the mess and damage of pipe-related issues, but also the expensive issues that follow.
Why are frozen pipes a problem?
Let’s start with the science of water. What happens when you combine water and freezing temperatures? Water freezes. But, water also expands as it freezes. In the case of the pipes in your home, freezing temperatures force the existing water to expand, even if it means breaking the pipe. Regardless of the strength of the pipe or container, you can’t beat science.
When you’re looking around your own home to diagnose which areas are susceptible to frozen pipes, notice the locations exposed to the cold, like outdoor lines, sprinkler lines, unheated areas inside the home, like garages, basements, crawl spaces, kitchen cabinets & attics.
How do I prevent frozen pipes?
What’s the best way to save money? Prevent problems before they happen! Use our 10-point checklist below to help keep your pipes from freezing during the winter or a cold-snap.
- Drain your water sprinkler supply lines – Using the manufacturer directions, be sure there’s no standing water in the lines. Call your sprinkler installer if you are unsure of how to do this yourself.
- Drain any remaining outside hoses water lines – Close the inside valves that supply your outdoor hoses and open the outside hose bib (outdoor water faucet) to let it drain. Keep the outside faucet open so that when the freezing water expands in the line, it has room to expand, lessening the chance of a burst water line.
- Keep the temperature consistent in your home – While it isn’t exactly economic to keep your home thermostat set at the same temperature all day, by keeping the internal temperature of your home consistent day & night, you can help to prevent your pipes from getting cold enough to freeze.
- Insulate pipes in unheated areas of the home – Consider installing pipe sleeves, heat tape, or similar products made to insulate exposed water pipes. PRO TIP: if you can’t make it to the store for insulation materials, try wrapping exposed pipes in at least 1/4″ of newspaper to protect pipes during a cold-snap.
- Keep your garage protected from freezing temperatures – Often times, supply lines and water heaters are in or near the garage. Keep your garage door(s) closed and consider using a space heater in a well-ventilated area of your garage.
- Open kitchen & bathroom cabinet doors – This will allow for the warmer air in your home to circulate around exposed plumbing.
- Let cold water drip from your faucets – When the weather is extremely cold, running water through the pipe will help prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Know your home – While it many not seem like a preventative measure, this will definitely assist you in being prepared in the case of a frozen or burst pipes. Know where the outside water cutoff is to your home. Know your water heater valves. Know where your water lines are. Know how they run throughout your home.
Remember, these are just tips and ways to help prevent the freezing of your pipes. It’s best to be prepared in order to prevent costly damages and claims. For more information, please contact a professional builder/contractor or licensed plumber in your area.