Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Lots of snow and winter weather offers a fun day sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the front yard. However, winter weather can be tough on your home. Severely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which can result in severe water damage and enduring negative effects.

Once your pipes are covered in ice, you should contact a plumber in Manassas to fix them. Nevertheless, 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 Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are uncovered water lines. Common locations for exposed 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 Freezing Over in Your Home

Sufficently insulating exposed water lines is a great first step to keeping your pipes ice free. You’ll likely locate many of these materials from the local plumbing company, and might also already have some inside your home.

Try not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they can be caught on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes by yourself, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in Manassas to handle the job.

If you do decide to insulate the pipes by yourself, popular insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Multiple plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers provide insulation – usually fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in differing lengths and sizes to satisfy the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: In a pinch, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to add insulation before then, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping particularly 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.

An additional preventative step you can try to keep pipes from freezing in your home is to seal any cracks that can allow cold air into your home. Focus on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only should this help to keep your pipes from freezing, but it will have the extra 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 underneath the sinks and other spaces of your home with pipes will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets trickle even a small amount can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is mostly 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 shut – namely if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat steady. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a uniform temperature and leaving it in place, rather than permitting it to get cooler at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re inside a house, it’s easier to realize when something isn't right. But what added steps can you try to stop pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for a while?

As with the main residence, adding insulation to any exposed water lines, opening interior doors inside the home and winterizing the vacant home are the basic steps to try at first.

Alternative Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Empty 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 adjust the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no cooler than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be out of the house for several weeks or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is an easy way to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking. Remember to clear the water out of any appliances, like the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. Confirm you clear out all the water from the pipes. If you’re unsure of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident doing it without any help, a plumber in Manassas will be glad to assist.