The snowy winter weather offers fun activities like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. However, winter weather can be tough on your home. Excessively cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which could result in severe water damage and long-lasting negative effects.
When your pipes are frozen solid, you might need to call a plumber in New Castle to resolve the issue. That being said, there’s a lot you can attempt to keep this from happening – and even a little 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 uncovered pipes are in 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 greatest risk.
How to Prevent 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 likely find most of these materials from the local plumbing company, and could also already have some inside your home.
Be mindful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they might be caught on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes on your own, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in New Castle to get the job done right.
If you do choose to insulate the pipes yourself, popular insulation materials for pipes are:
- Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers provide insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are offered in various lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
- Newspaper: In a pinch, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is going to get cold and you aren’t able to buy insulation in time, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
- Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to install insulation and don’t have any newspaper close by, 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.
Another preventative step you can attempt to prevent pipes from being covered in ice is to seal any cracks that could allow cold air in your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful 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 under the sinks and other rooms of your home with pipes will allow more warm air from the rest of the room to reach the pipes.
- Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets move even a small amount can help avoid frozen pipes.
- Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more consistently. This is particularly 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 advice is the garage door, which you should keep down – namely if your water lines run through the garage.
- Keep the heat flowing. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a uniform temperature and leaving it there, rather than permitting it to get colder at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.
How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home
When you’re inside a house, it’s easy to know when something isn't right. But what additional steps can you attempt to keep pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the damages from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for days or even weeks?
As with your primary residence, adding insulation to any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to try at first.
Additional Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home:
- Leave the heat on. Even though you aren’t going to be there, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no cooler than 55 degrees.
- 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 clearing the water out of the water lines is an easy way to keep pipes from freezing and bursting open. Remember to drain the water out of any appliances, like the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. See to it that you clear out all the water from the plumbing. If you're uncertain of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, a plumber in New Castle will be glad to step in.