Snow-covered winter weather presents a great opportunity for things like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. However, winter weather can be tough on your home. Extremely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your plumbing to freeze and burst, which could result in significant water damage and lasting negative effects.

Once your pipes are covered in ice, you should contact a plumber in Mankato area to handle the problem. That being said, there’s multiple things you can do to keep this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at a Higher Chance of Freezing

The pipes at the highest risk of freezing are uncovered water lines. Prevalent locations for uninsulated pipes are within 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 Stop Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

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

Be careful not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they may be caught on fire. If you don’t feel confident insulating the pipes on your own, contact your local plumbing services professional in Mankato area to do the job.

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes on your own, popular insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers offer insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are offered in different lengths and sizes to satisfy the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation soon enough, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort can be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

One other preventative step you can take to keep pipes from becoming frozen is to seal any cracks that could permit cold air in your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful drafts. This not only will 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 beneath the sinks and other spaces of your home with pipes will enable 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 just a bit can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is mostly important if there's a room that is frequently 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 closed – especially if your water lines run through the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a uniform temperature and leaving it there, rather than letting it get cooler at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re at home, it’s not difficult to know when something isn't right. But what extra steps can you attempt to keep pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for some time?

As with your primary residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to take.

Additional 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 turn the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no lower 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 vacation cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is an easy way to stop pipes from freezing and bursting open. Try not to forget to flush the water out of your appliances, such as the hot water heater, or the toilets. See to it that you clear out all the water from the plumbing. If you're uncertain of how to flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure performing it without any help, a plumber in Mankato area will be glad to step in.