Snow-covered winter weather offers a fun day sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the back yard. At the same time, winter weather can be difficult on your home. Extremely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which may result in severe water damage and long-lasting negative effects.
If your pipes are frozen, you may want to contact a plumber in Manassas to handle the problem. However, there’s several tasks you can try to stop this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.
What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing
The pipes at the highest risk of freezing are uncovered water lines. Common locations for uncovered pipes are within 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 highest risk.
How to Keep Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home
Thoroughly insulating exposed water lines is a great first step to keeping your pipes ice free. You’ll often find lots of these materials from a local plumbing company, and may also already have some inside your home.
Be careful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they may be caught on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes by yourself, call your local plumbing services professional in Manassas to get the job done right.
If you do prefer to insulate the pipes by yourself, good insulation materials for pipes consist of:
- Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers provide 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 fit the needs of your home.
- Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to add insulation soon enough, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
- Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping especially vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort could be just enough to keep the cold air from freezing the pipes.
Another preventative step you can attempt to stop pipes from becoming frozen is to seal any cracks that could allow cold air inside your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly strong drafts. Not only should 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 under the sinks and other spaces of your home that have pipes 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 trickle 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 equally. This is mostly important if there's a room that is generally colder or hotter than the rest of the home.
- Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors tip is the garage door, which you should keep down – especially if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
- Keep the heat consistent. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a constant temperature and leaving it alone, rather than permitting it to get lower at night. Set it no lower than 55 degrees.
How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home
When you’re at home, it’s easier to know when something isn't right. But what extra steps can you attempt to keep pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for days or even weeks?
As with the main residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors inside the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to try at first.
Added Steps to Stop Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home:
- 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 colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no lower than 55 degrees.
- 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 vacation cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is a good way to stop pipes from freezing and breaking. Try not to forget to clear the water out of all appliances, including the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. Confirm you clear out all the water from the plumbing. If you're uncertain of how to flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident performing it on your own, a plumber in Manassas will be happy to step in.