6 Ways To Prevent Frozen Pipes


Winter can be a wonderful, cozy season, but it’s pretty tough on our homes. Utility costs go up, efficiency issues become glaringly obvious, plus there’s the stress and strain of snow and excess moisture.

One of the biggest concerns for homeowners during the winter months is the risk of frozen water pipes, which can be costly to repair and cause serious damage to your home.

How about we switch gears to some good news? There are a handful of easy, practical ways that you can prevent frozen pipes, dodging an avoidable mess, expense, and headache. Keep reading!

How to keep your pipes from freezing this winter

1. Insulate exposed pipes

During cold weather, it’s important to insulate any exposed pipes that are located near exterior walls or in unheated areas of your home. Wrapping your pipes with foam insulation or purchasing pre-slit insulation sleeves can help reduce the chance of freezing.

2. Let the water drip from your faucet during cold snaps

Obviously you don’t want to waste water, but letting your faucet even dribble can help keep it flowing during extreme weather conditions. Again, not a permanent solution, but it’s a quick tip to help you through a brutally cold night until you can fully remediate the issue. Periodically run hot water through your pipes too.

3. Seal air leaks

Sealing gaps is always important for your home’s efficiency, but especially near your pipes. Drafts from windows, door frames, and other openings can cause the air temperature around the pipes to quickly drop. Check your basement and crawlspace for any gaps that can be filled with foam, or invest in extra insulation behind faucets and pipes that run along exterior walls. As a bonus, filling these gaps can also prevent pest intrusion. Win-win!

4. Keep the heat on

It sounds simplistic, but you’d be surprised by how often homeowners turn the heat WAY down, or even off, especially if it’s in a property that’s used infrequently or may be empty for an extended period of time. If you won’t be back for the winter, fully winterize your home so that it can be safely unused without risk of freezing/bursting pipes. If you will be gone for a shorter period of time, leave the heat above 55 degrees fahrenheit.

5. Open cabinet or vanity doors

Kitchen and bathroom plumbing that runs along an outside wall is particularly vulnerable. Leaving the cabinet door that leads under your sink open at night allows the heat inside; the same for your bathroom vanity. It’s an easy way to lessen the chances of freezing.

6. Disconnect garden houses

Having a frost-proof outdoor faucet is handy and a good preventative measure, but it shouldn’t be relied upon 100%. We recommend disconnecting garden hoses completely before the temps dip below the freezing point, protecting you from a nasty surprise.

What do you do if your pipes are frozen?

If you turn on your faucet and nothing comes out, it’s time to do a little reconnaissance work. Check your pipes and your utility area to make sure nothing has burst. If it has, shut off the main water supply ASAP and call a professional plumber.

If it hasn’t burst, the key is to gradually thaw the line. Use a supplemental heat source, like a space heater or even a blowdryer (if you can pinpoint where the frozen section is) to raise the temperature. Start by focusing under those cabinets and vanities, like we mentioned above, and be sure to run a heater in your basement too. It should go without saying, but please never use an open flame to rapidly thaw your pipe… Yes, people have done it, and no, it’s not a good idea. 

Have more questions about preventing or repairing frozen pipes?

Contact us at Accurate Plumbing. We can help you protect and maintain your home, making smart decisions along the way.

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