How To Keeps Your Pipes From Freezing – It’s already October & as temperatures start to drop in the late fall, there’s an increased risk of significant home damage: frozen pipes. If the water in your pipes freezes, it can cause pipes to burst, leading to potentially massive and costly damage. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to keep pipes from freezing in the first place—and what to do if they do freeze (or even burst).
How to Keep Pipes From Freezing
Preventing pipes from freezing is your number one defense against burst pipes in the winter. Here are 10 tips for keeping your pipes from freezing:
1. Insulate Pipes
Insulate your pipes before chilly weather sets in. Winterizing your pipes is an essential step in your fall home maintenance process to prevent serious damage during the coldest months of the year.
Pipe insulation costs $1.10 to $11 per foot for professional installation. To DIY, expect to spend $0.20 to $3 per foot of pipe insulation material.
Insulate pipes in unheated spaces, particularly attics, basements, and garages. Choose from the best pipe insulation options to keep your pipes from freezing even in extreme temperatures. Pay attention to the R-value and size when purchasing insulation: The higher the R-value, the better the insulation. Most pipe insulation is either 1/2 or 3/4 inches in diameter, so check your pipes before ordering.
2. Open Cabinet Doors
One easy way to prevent freezing pipes is to let the warm air in your home circulate around the pipes. When you have the heat going, open up cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This way, warm air can warm the walls and better reach the pipes in or behind the cabinets.
3. Close Garage Doors
While you want to open cabinet doors, you should close garage doors if water supply lines run through the garage. When it’s freezing outside, that cold air will enter the garage if the door is left open. This will make the temperature in the garage drop even lower, potentially leading to frozen pipes.
4. Keep the Heat On
If you’re going on vacation or visiting family over the holidays, keep the indoor temperature set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent freezing. Many people set the thermostat lower at night to reduce utility bills, but a frozen or burst pipe will cost you far more. Keep the temperature at a minimum of 55 degrees, even at night.
5. Open Interior Doors
While closing the bedroom or bathroom door after leaving the room might be a habit, try to break it during the winter. Leaving interior doors open as much as possible will allow warm air to circulate evenly throughout the home. This can help keep enclosed pipes warm enough to avoid freezing.
6. Let Faucets Drip
When the outside temperature reaches 20 degrees or lower, you’ll need to let some of the faucets in your home drip to help prevent freezing. Moving water creates energy and friction, which decreases the possibility of frozen pipes. This method works for all types of pipes, meaning you should do this to prevent your PEX pipes from freezing.
Here’s how to effectively let your faucets drip to keep your pipes from freezing:
- Identify faucets connected to pipes that have frozen previously and those that are exposed or against outdoor walls.
- Turn on these faucets to a drip or trickle.
- If water pipes for both hot and cold water are exposed, turn on both to a trickle to prevent either line from freezing.
This is one of the best preventative methods to take to keep pipes from freezing when you’re out of town.
How To Keeps Your Pipes From Freezing
7. Apply Electrical Heating Tape
Electrical heating tape can help warm pipes before they get too cold. Heating tape is actually a heating cable wrapped in electrical wire that plugs into an outlet to generate heat. There are manual or self-monitoring electrical heating tape options.
- Manual electrical heating tape: Wrap tape around the pipes before a cold snap, then plug in to activate.
- Self-monitoring heating tape: This heating tape uses a sensor to determine when pipes are too cold. The sensor will trigger the heating tape to turn on and warm the pipes.
8. Seal Cracks and Openings
Apply weather stripping and caulk where appropriate to repair any cracks and create a tight seal around openings near the pipes, especially if they’re near the exterior of your home. Seal up any windows and spaces around exterior doors, and fix any other imperfections that may let cold air in. Not only will this help keep your pipes from freezing, but it can also keep your home more comfortable.
Never tackled this home project before? Our step-by-step guide walks you through how to caulk like a pro.
9. Insulate Crawl Space
Insulate your crawl space to prevent warm air from being lost through the cracks. By keeping all that warm air inside of your home, you’ll spend less money trying to keep things warm and may not have to deal with pipes freezing as frequently. These benefits alone can make crawl space insulation worth it.
You can use polystyrene foam board, spray foam, or fiberglass batts to insulate your crawl space. It’s a fairly straightforward DIY project.
10. Drain Outdoor Pools and Hoses
All hoses should be drained and stored during the winter. To do this, start by turning off your indoor water supply valve. This valve may be in your garage, basement, or crawl space. Next, remove hoses from the faucets, shake out any excess water, and put them in storage.
Next, turn your hose bibs on and leave them open through the winter. If your area gets a lot of snow and ice, you should winterize your outdoor faucets. You can do this by adding an insulation cover or getting freeze-proof faucets.
Additionally, as part of your outdoor pool maintenance, you should drain all the water before freezing weather sets in. You can also plug your pipes and clear them of water with a compressor, seal the skimmer, and then install a winter pool cover.
And remember, if you DO end up with frozen or busted pipes OR you want a professional to winterize your plumbing, call the Pros at Budget Plumbing. They are always ready will and more than able to assist with ALL your plumbing needs.