Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

The snowy winter weather offers a fun day sledding down a nearby hill or snowball fights in the back yard. That being said, winter weather can be tough on your home. Severely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which could cause severe water damage and lasting negative effects.

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

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

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

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Your Home

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

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

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

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers sell insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are offered in various lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to add insulation in time, 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 particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort could be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can try to keep pipes from freezing in your home is to fill any cracks that could let cold air into your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can let in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only should this help to stop your pipes from freezing, but it will have the additional 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 areas of your home with plumbing will permit 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 a small amount can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is particularly 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 closed – especially if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a constant temperature and leaving it there, rather than allowing it to get lower at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re at home, it’s not difficult to know when something isn't right. But what added steps can you try to prevent pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the damages 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 first steps to take.

Added Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren't currently using the home, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no colder than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, turning the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting open. Remember to drain the water out of any appliances, including the hot water heater, and the toilets. Make sure you clear out all the water from the pipes. If you're uncertain of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel comfortable handling it yourself, a plumber in Mankato area will be happy to step in.