Snow-covered winter weather presents a great opportunity for things like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's 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 could result in severe water damage and lasting negative effects.

If your pipes are covered in ice, you may want to contact a plumber in Albuquerque to fix them. Nevertheless, there’s multiple things you can do to keep this from happening – and even just a bit of prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Prevalent locations for uncovered pipes are in attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running beneath a modular home. Water lines that are not correctly insulated are at the greatest risk.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

Sufficiently insulating uncovered water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes free of ice. You’ll often find lots of these materials from the local plumbing company, and could also already have some somewhere in your home.

Be careful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they may be caught on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes on your own, contact your local plumbing services professional in Albuquerque to handle the job.

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes by yourself, common insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers offer insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in differing lengths and sizes to fit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is going to get cold and you aren’t able to put in more insulation before then, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper close by, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort could be just enough to keep the cold air away from the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can take to prevent pipes from freezing in your home is to seal up any cracks that could permit cold air inside your home. Focus on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly powerful drafts. This not only will help to keep your pipes from freezing, but it will have the extra 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 spaces of your home with plumbing will enable more warm air from the rest of the room to get to 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 for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is especially important if you have a room that is generally colder or hotter than other rooms.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors recommendation is the garage door, which you should keep down – particularly if your water lines run through the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it alone, rather than permitting it to get lower at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s not difficult to recognize when something isn't right. But what additional steps can you take to keep pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for days or even weeks?

As with your primary residence, adding insulation to any exposed water lines, opening interior doors inside the home and winterizing the vacant home are the basic steps to take.

Alternative Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren’t going to be there, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you turn the thermostat down lower than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, 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 out of the house for an extended period of time or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, turning the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is a good way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Try not to forget to flush the water out of all appliances, including the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. See to it that you clear out all the water from the system. If you're uncertain of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident doing it on your own, a plumber in Albuquerque will be delighted to help.