How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing: Winter Weather Tips
As New Jersey residents know all too well, the winter months can be brutal – not only on our health and wellbeing, but on our homes as well. While snow can be an enjoyable experience, between the incredible snow forts kids construct, epic snowball fights, and the occasional day off from work, it can also wreak havoc on the home. Between water leaks and frozen pipes, freezing temperatures pose a costly risk to your home and its belongings. Nobody wants a burst pipe to add to their winter woes, which is why a little prevention can be a great idea to prevent pipes from freezing.
How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing
We need water for just about everything - bathing, cooking, laundry, and more. When you are cut off from your water supply, daily routines are placed at a halt, which can be very inconvenient, especially when it comes to bathing and simply using the bathroom. Prevent water damage and inconvenience with these proactive and reactive steps:
BEFORE A FREEZE
- Insulation is a huge factor when it comes to preventing pipes from freezing. Inspect your water pipes to see that they are carefully insulated. Check your local hardware store or HVAC company for pre-made insulating sheaths that fit around your pipes with ease. If you need help accessing pipes that are out of reach, call your local plumber. If that isn't an option, you can alternatively wrap them with blanket-style insulation. Places you'll want to pay particular attention to are spaces in your home that aren't heated, such as crawl spaces, unfinished basements, and garages.
- An alternative insulation option are heat tapes and cables. It's imperative you purchase tape that has the UL approval notice on it. When installing the tape, be sure to follow the instructions closely to prevent any fires from breaking out.
- Search your bathrooms and kitchen for places where cold air might be entering into your home through pipes or electrical connections. You can plug these holes using caulk, expanding spray foam, or loose insulation.
- When the temperatures starts to drop, open cabinet doors in your bathroom and kitchen, especially under your sinks. This allows heat from the room to circulate around your pipes.
- Just as a precaution, running a little bit of warm water through your hot and cold lines can go a long way in preventing ice crystals from forming. Doing so allows the water to continuously flow through your pipes and decreases the pressure in the water to prevent frozen pipes.
DURING A FREEZE
- We all want to save that extra buck, but keep your home warmer than 55 degrees, even when you leave! Your utility costs will be a little bit more, but the repair costs for pipe damage will far exceed that cost.
- Open cabinet doors at night, especially when it's extremely cold. The warm air will keep the pipes from freezing.
- Turn on any faucets, and let warm water trickle through both hot and cold water lines throughout the night. Any faucets that sit near an exterior wall will benefit from this, reducing the odds of it freezing. If you feel bad about the wasted water, you can catch the drops in a large basin and use the water for your plants and garden.
Watch our very own master plumber Shawn Rannels explain how to prevent pipes from freezing this winter:
To recap, here are the best tips from preventing frozen pipes:
- Seal Air Leaks
- Insulate Pipes
- Leave Trickles of Warm Water
- Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Faucets and Hoses
- Keep the House Above 55 Degrees
- Close and Seal Windows and Doors
- Monitor Conditions
- Use Common Sense and NEVER USE AN OPEN FLAME TO THAW PIPES
If you are too late to prevent pipes from freezing and you are ready to THAW them, read last year’s blog post.
Gold Medal Service offer 24-hour service and customer support so even if you experience a pipe emergency in the middle of the night, we’re there for you. If you need help insulating your pipes or replacing old, deteriorating ones, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Happy New Year!