Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Snow-covered winter weather brings fun activities like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the front yard. However, winter weather can be hard on your home. Severely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which could result in serious water damage and lasting negative effects.

If your pipes are frozen, you might need to call a plumber in Moline to fix them. That being said, there’s several tasks you can do to stop this from happening – and even just a bit of prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the highest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Prevalent locations for uninsulated pipes are in attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running underneath a modular home. Water lines that are not correctly insulated are at the highest risk.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating exposed water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes free of ice. You’ll often locate many of these materials from a local plumbing company, and may also already have some somewhere in your home.

Be careful 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, contact your local plumbing services professional in Moline to do the job.

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes on your own, popular insulation materials for pipes include:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Multiple plumbers, hardware stores and large retailers sell insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in various lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is going to get cold and you aren’t able to add insulation soon enough, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to install insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping especially vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort may be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

One other preventative step you can take to prevent pipes from becoming frozen is to seal any cracks that can let cold air into your home. Focus on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only will this help to stop 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 permit more warm air from the rest of the room to get to the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping the water flowing by letting your faucets trickle even a small amount can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is especially important if you struggle with a room that is generally colder or hotter than the rest of the home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors recommendation 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 flowing. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it alone, rather than letting it get cooler at night. Set it no lower than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re at home, it’s easier to know when something breaks down. But what additional steps can you take 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 a primary residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to try at first.

Extra Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Unused 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 adjust the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts recommend 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 an extended period of time or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is a good way to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking. Don’t forget to drain the water out of all appliances, like the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. See to it that you empty all the water from the plumbing. If you are not sure of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure performing it without any help, a plumber in Moline will be glad to offer support.