Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

Snow-covered winter weather brings things like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the front yard. At the same time, winter weather can be hard on your home. Severely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which could result in significant water damage and enduring negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen, you may want to hire a plumber in Albuquerque to resolve the issue. However, there’s several tasks you can do to prevent this from happening – and even minor prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the highest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Frequent locations for uncovered pipes are inside 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 biggest risk.

How to Prevent Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating exposed water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes free of ice. You’ll often find most of these materials from a local plumbing company, and could also already have some inside your home.

Be careful not to wrap up other flammable insulation materials where they might catch fire. If you don’t feel confident insulating the pipes yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Albuquerque to get the job done right.

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

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Multiple 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 different lengths and sizes to fit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to put in more insulation soon enough, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to install insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort could be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

One other preventative step you can try to keep pipes from becoming frozen is to fill any cracks that could let cold air into your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only will this help to keep 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 rooms of your home with plumbing will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to reach the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping the water flowing by letting your faucets trickle even just a bit can help avoid frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is mostly important if you struggle with a room that tends to be 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 down – especially if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat steady. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a constant temperature and leaving it in place, rather than letting it get colder at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s easy to recognize when something goes wrong. But what additional steps can you attempt to stop pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe may not be discovered for a while?

As with your primary residence, adding insulation to any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to try at first.

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 leave the heat on – even if you adjust the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts encourage 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 a long time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, turning the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is one way to stop pipes from freezing and bursting open. Don’t forget to drain the water out of your appliances, such as the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. Make sure you empty all the water from the system. If you're uncertain of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it yourself, a plumber in Albuquerque will be happy to assist.