Winter Safety – How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing

Each year, many homeowners end up spending thousands of dollars on fixing frozen pipes. During periods of extremely cold weather, it’s common for the water in pipes to freeze. Since water expands when it freezes, this often results in a pressure crack in the pipes, which then causes the pipes to “burst”. This breach in the pipe can cause flooding, which will most likely result in further damage expenses. To prevent this, it’s best to know some simple tips and tricks you can use to keep your pipes from freezing.

Winter Safety – Frozen Pipes Tip 1: Add Insulation
A great way to help reduce the chances that your pipes will freeze is to insulate them before the cold weather hits. Any exposed piping in your house will benefit from insulation, which helps to lower the risk of frozen pipes. If you aren’t comfortable insulating your pipes yourself, you can always consult a professional to do it for you.

Winter Safety – Frozen Pipes Tip 2: Seal Off Drafts
Another method that you can use to help prevent frozen pipes is to seal off any cracks that allow cold air to come in contact with exposed piping. Some of the most common areas where cold air can enter your home are around dryer vents, electrical wiring or through small spaces in between siding (for unfinished walls). To seal these cracks, you can use electrical tape, but using caulk or extra insulation provides a more permanent solution.

Winter Safety – Frozen Pipes Tip 3: Open Your Faucets
To help prevent your pipes from freezing, you may want to open the faucets in your home. This should be done on especially cold nights, or when you expect to be away from your home for a significant amount of time. In some cases, a small trickle of water running through the pipe may be enough to prevent your pipes from freezing. Be sure to only turn on your faucets if you have an unobstructed drain which allows for free draining of water from the faucet.

Winter Safety – Frozen Pipes Tip 4: Expose Main-Floor Piping
To help prevent pipes on your main floor from freezing, you may want to expose them to heat. Now, it should be noted that this should only be done for piping that is in areas such as under sinks or in cabinets. Open the door of the cabinet to expose the piping to the heat circulating around the rest of the floor. It’s recommended that you do this on the same floor where your primary heat vents are located.

Winter Safety – Frozen Pipes Tip 5: Set Your Thermostat
Many people tend to turn their thermostat down or off when they leave their home. This is actually one of the most common reasons why pipes may freeze. Even though it may not seem cost-effective to leave your heat running in your absence, it can be very important for preventing the additional expense of fixing frozen pipes. Set your thermostat no lower than 55F, and be sure that your heat source is well-supplied to heat your home in your absence.

Winter Safety – Frozen Pipes Tip 6: Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
If you have a garden hose, it’s highly recommended that you shut off the valve of the pipe that leads to the outdoor faucet. In the winter, the short length of piping that extends to the hose faucet may collect water, which has a much higher chance of freezing. It’s also important that you disconnect any garden hoses in your yard, storing them safely until they may be reconnected in spring.