Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Snow-covered winter weather presents a great opportunity for things like sledding down a nearby hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. However, winter weather can be tough on your home. Severely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which can cause serious water damage and enduring negative effects.

If your pipes are covered in ice, you should call a plumber in Bend to resolve the issue. Nevertheless, there’s a lot you can do to stop 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 uncovered water lines. Common locations for uninsulated pipes are inside attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running beneath a modular home. Water lines that are not properly insulated are at the biggest risk.

How to Keep Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Properly insulating exposed water lines is a great first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll likely locate most of these materials from a local plumbing company, and could also already have some someplace in your home.

Be mindful not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they can be caught on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes by yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Bend to handle the job.

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes by yourself, good insulation materials for pipes include:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and large retailers provide insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in differing 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 going to get cold and you aren’t able to add insulation in time, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort may be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can take to keep pipes from becoming frozen is to seal up any cracks that could let cold air in your home. Focus on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only will this help to stop 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 underneath the sinks and other areas of your home with pipes will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to reach the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets drip even a small amount can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more consistently. This is particularly important if you have a room that is frequently colder or hotter than the remainder of your home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors advice is the garage door, which you should keep shut – particularly if your water lines run through the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a persistent temperature and leaving it in place, rather than permitting it to get lower at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re inside a house, it’s easy to recognize when something breaks down. But what added steps can you attempt to keep pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for some time?

As with the main residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to take.

Added Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren’t going to be there, it’s best to keep the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no colder than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be out of the house for a long time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is a good way to keep pipes from freezing and bursting. Try not to forget to clear the water out of all appliances, including the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. See to it that you get all the water from the pipes. If you are not sure of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel comfortable performing it without any help, a plumber in Bend will be glad to offer support.