In frigid temperatures, the water in your plumbing pipes can freeze. This can be very problematic as it can cause damage to the pipes, creating leaks or even burst pipes. In turn, this can lead to water damage and costly repairs. With just a few simple steps, you can help prevent your pipes from freezing this winter.
Step 1: Seal cracks and holes near pipes
If there are cracks or holes on the interior or exterior walls, cold air can enter, and the pipes will be more likely to freeze. Seal up any cracks or holes with the appropriate construction materials, such as plaster or caulk, to keep warm air in and cold air out.
Step 2: Keep your heat turned on even while away
The pipes can freeze during winter months when the temperature drops too low. One way to combat drops in interior temperature is by keeping your central heating turned on. The heat will help warm the pipes, so the water temperature is less likely to get below freezing. Even if you are traveling away from home, you need to leave the heat on to prevent the pipes from freezing. Set your thermostat to at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3: Keep the interior doors open in your home
To evenly heat your home and help keep all the piping at the right temperature, you should leave interior doors open. This will allow heat to flow freely throughout the home. This includes leaving cabinet doors open because some pipes are located within or behind cabinetry. Having the cabinet doors open will help the warm air to flow close to the pipes.
Step 4: Leave a faucet to drip to keep water flowing
During extraordinarily low temperatures, you can help relieve pressure in the pipes and keep water flowing by leaving a faucet to drip. If the pipe still freezes, that flow of water can help prevent water pressure from building up, which will at least help prevent the pipe from bursting.
Step 5: Add extra insulation to your home
Older homes may have less insulation than newer builds. Also, in many homes, pipes can be located in areas that do not typically have enough insulation (such as attics and basements). If you live somewhere that regularly experiences freezing weather, then you may want to add more insulation to wall interiors and to exposed pipes that may be more susceptible to freezing.
Step 6: Consider applying electrical heating tape
If you live in a frigid climate or have an older, poorly insulated home, you can help prevent freezing pipes by applying electrical heating tape. The electrical heating tape helps to warm the pipes so that they do not get cold enough to freeze. You can select an option that needs to manually plugged in or an option that turns itself on when it senses that heat is necessary.
If you are concerned that your pipes may freeze or if you have had problems with frozen pipes in the past, then you may want to contact a professional plumber for a complete assessment and specific advice. These industry experts can assess the needs of your home, make any necessary alterations, and offer recommendations to prevent frozen pipes.