How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

There’s more than just a chill in the air, now it’s just plain old cold.  If you live in an area where winters are super harsh, or if you live in an older house, now is the time to start taking steps to make sure your pipes don’t freeze.  Because water expands when it freezes, frozen pipes can lead to busted pipes–which can lead to tons of money out of the door in repairs.  A few easy steps could save you some moolah and heartache.

First things first, locate your pipes, if you don’t already know.   Pipes in uninsulated attics and crawlspaces can be vulnerable to freezing.  So, make sure that any cracks or holes in the foundation, roof, and/or walls are sealed up.  Think about where cable lines or phone lines enter the house , if a hole was drilled to get them into the house, that tiny hole could be enough to freeze your pipes {depending on  your location, of course}.

Semi-Split Pipe Wrap Insulation

If you live in an area that a freeze is less common {like me}, your pipes are actually more susceptible to the weather.  They will likely be located in places where they aren’t protected, because freezing is so unlikely.  So, if you get a freeze warning in an area like that, make sure to take proper precaution by insulating the pipes or using a special heat tape.

In the dead of winter, simply opening cabinet doors to expose pipes to the heat of the house can go a long way.  Also, if your house is in an area that is susceptible to frozen pipes, it’s best not to drop your thermostat at night during those coldest nights.  Keep the temperature steady–even the slightest drop can tip the scales.

Remember your outside faucets have pipes that can freeze too.  So, make sure to disconnect hoses, etc. that would encourage water to stay in that short span of pipe behind the exterior of your house.

If you travel during the holidays, or just to get away for a little winter-blues therapy, resist the urge to turn down your heat below 55 degrees.  Shut off the water before you leave.  If you can, also drain the whole system.  If turning the water off isn’t an option for you, it’s probably in your best interest to have a neighbor check in on your house, just to make sure it stays warm enough and all is well.

Running water is awesome.  Broken pipes are not.  So, how do you keep your pipes happy in the winter cold?



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  1. says

    We take our hoses off the faucets in the fall, and I believe all our pipes for water supply to the house are in the basement. We live in Michigan so the house is built to protect the pipes.

  2. Carri says

    We leave a small stream of water running in both bathrooms at both ends of the house where it tends to get colder and we replaced the single piece steel exterior faucets with 4 piece copper ones and installed a shut off valve for them on the inside of the wall.

  3. Dottie says

    Our first winter as new homeowners, the outside hose pipe burst. On thanksgiving day. After 5pm when all the useful stores were closed. We had to turn off the main water line and live rest of the evening without running water. And during all the commotion, I forgot about the turkey in the oven. It burned. So after learning the hard way, we are now well insulated inside and out, and our toolchest is well stocked with any pipe repair supplies we will ever need.

  4. Sophie says

    We had a pipe freeze last week. Thankfully it was only feeding our powder room toilet. Hubby got down in the crawl space with his heat light and hairdryer and unfroze that puppy! We need to get some of that insulation and put it on that pipe!!

  5. natalie G says

    We had our pipes freeze last winter, and it was over $500 to fix it!!! They froze again the very next day! I was home alone, so just went where the main pipe comes in where the water shut off was, I wrapped a heating pad around it. I gave it about an hour or so just kept busy doing other things around the house (cause otherwise it’s like watching water boil). And ta-da! It thawed out without another bill!

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