As temperatures plummet, your pipes can freeze. Freezing pipes can be dangerous — a frozen pipe can expand and contract as it thaws. As water flows, pressure builds, which can result in bursting. Burst pipes mean flooding, standing water damage and expensive, urgent repairs. Avoiding frozen pipes is much less hassle than cleaning up after burst pipes.
To avoid frozen pipes, take a few preventive measures. You can do a few things to get your house ready for those frigid temperatures. Learn how to keep your pipes from freezing and what to do if you discover frozen water lines.
How to Keep My Pipes From Freezing
As a homeowner, you can follow a few tips to prevent frozen pipes. While some measures require a professional’s help, others are simple DIY tasks. For instance, keeping your heat on and your garage door closed can help keep your pipes warm enough to prevent freezing. Follow these steps to keep your pipes from freezing this winter.
1. Keep Your Garage Door Closed
Garages tend to be one of the coldest parts of a house, with concrete floors and minimal insulation. One way to avoid frozen pipes is to keep the garage door closed when it’s cold outside. This tip is especially valuable if you have water supply lines that go through your garage. Keeping the garage door closed will also preserve the heat in your home, reducing your energy bills.
You may also choose to add a little more insulation to your garage to keep the space warmer in the winter. It can keep pipes from freezing and make your garage a more livable part of your home.
2. Insulate Your Pipes
One of the essential steps you should take is to insulate your pipes. Adequate insulation has other benefits as well — it can decrease your energy bills and preserve heat as water travels to your faucets, so you have a shorter wait for hot water. Insulation also reduces the condensation that corrodes pipes over time, lengthening the pipes’ lifespan.
Pipes in garages, basements, crawlspaces and along exterior walls require extra insulation. Any pipes exposed to outdoor temperatures are much likelier to freeze. If you plan to keep your home’s interior cool, know that inside pipes usually have minimal insulation. So, you may need to add more insulation to these pipes as well.
3. Let Your Faucet Drip
Letting a faucet drip is a well-known method for keeping pipes from freezing. It’s critical to understand how a running faucet helps prevent freezing. You may think this works because flowing water won’t freeze. However, running water can still freeze, but a constant drip relieves the pressure caused by ice blockages. This pressure buildup is the culprit behind leaks and bursts.
When temperatures drop around or below freezing, keep at least one faucet dripping. Choose the fixture farthest from the water source, so water has a chance to flow through the whole pipe system. For better results, keep more than one tap dripping in various parts of the house. Make sure to involve any water lines running through exterior walls or unheated parts of your home.
4. Keep Your Heat On
You may consider turning your heat off when you leave for vacation or head to work in the morning. Energy-saving guides will suggest using minimal heat to decrease your monthly bill. While it’s a good idea to save energy, think of your pipes before adjusting your thermostat.
If you live somewhere that temperatures drop below freezing, you’ll need to keep some amount of heat flowing. Remember, internal pipes — for instance, in your kitchen and bathroom — are not always fully insulated. Their design doesn’t withstand outdoor winter temperatures. To keep these from freezing, you need to leave some heat running in your house. There’s no magic temperature for setting your thermostat— it depends on where you live and how well you’ve insulated your pipes.
5. Contact a Professional
When you’re winterizing your home, it’s smart to contact professional plumbers to take a look at your pipes. We live in a do-it-yourself era — you may feel tempted to pull up a YouTube video and try to winterize your house on your own. If your goal is to save money, it’s a better idea to contact a professional. You’re likely to make mistakes a professional would not, and those might end up being expensive to repair.
Ask a professional to inspect your house’s pipes and install more insulation where needed. A plumbing professional can also advise you on how warm you need to keep your home to avoid pipe freezing.
What to Do With Frozen Pipes
In frigid climates, pipes might freeze no matter how many precautions you take. It’s essential to know how to react. If you turn on a faucet to find no water comes out, you may have a frozen pipe. If this happens, do not try to thaw the pipes yourself. Doing so can be dangerous, and you may not be able to pinpoint where the ice is because most plumbing pipes aren’t visible. Instead, contact a professional when you discover frozen pipes. Never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame of any kind.
If frozen pipes burst, you might have a severe problem on your hands. Act fast to minimize the damage. A burst pipe tends to be noticeable — you’re likely to hear it. When this happens, turn off the water supply as quickly as you can to avoid flooding. Then, contact a professional to repair the broken pipe.
Contact Crawford Mechanical Services to Winterize Your Pipes
Frozen pipes in winter are one of the last things you want to deal with as a homeowner. A frozen pipe can quickly burst, resulting in dangerous, damaging flooding.
To keep your home safe this winter, remember these tips:
- Protect your pipes against freezing.
- Keep your pipes warm by maintaining a warm home — leave the heat on and keep the garage door closed.
- Ensure your pipes have adequate insulation, and let one or two faucets drip.
If your pipes do freeze, turn off the water supply and call in an expert to fix the problem. To winterize your home or repair damaged pipes, contact Crawford Mechanical Services, Inc. today. Crawford Mechanical Services is an award-winning, family-owned and -operated plumbing business, serving families and business owners in Ohio. We’ll help you guard your pipes against freezing this winter.