Snow-covered winter weather brings fun activities like sledding down a nearby hill or snowball fights in the back yard. At the same time, winter weather can be hard on your home. Excessively cold conditions can cause the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which can lead to significant water damage and lasting negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen, you may want to call a plumber in Bend to fix them. That being said, there’s several tasks you can perform on your own to prevent this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are uninsulated water lines. Prevalent 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 properly insulated are at the greatest risk.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

Sufficiently insulating exposed water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll often have access to most of these materials from the local plumbing company, and could also already have some inside your home.

Be careful not to wrap up other flammable insulation materials where they can light on fire. If you don’t feel confident insulating the pipes on your own, call your local plumbing services professional in Bend to get the job done right.

If you do choose to insulate the pipes yourself, good insulation materials for pipes consist of:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Many plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers offer insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in numerous lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: In a pinch, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation in time, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper close by, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort may be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

Another preventative step you can try to prevent pipes from becoming frozen is to seal up any cracks that can let cold air inside your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can allow in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only should this help to prevent your pipes from freezing, but it will have the added 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 beneath the sinks and other spaces of your home with plumbing will enable more warm air from the rest of the room to reach the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets move even a small amount can help prevent 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 frequently 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 shut – especially if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than letting it get lower at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s easier to recognize when something goes wrong. But what added steps can you try to prevent pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the damages 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 throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to try at first.

Additional Steps to Stop Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant 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 turn the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no cooler than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be gone for a long time or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is a good way to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking. Don’t forget to flush the water out of all appliances, such as the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. See to it that you empty all the water from the plumbing. If you’re unsure of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident doing it on your own, a plumber in Bend will be delighted to step in.