Snow-covered winter weather offers things like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the back yard. That being said, winter weather can be difficult on your home. Severely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which can cause significant water damage and enduring negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen solid, you should call a plumber in Los Angeles to resolve the issue. However, there’s several tasks you can perform on your own to keep this from happening – and even just a bit of prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

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

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

Sufficiently insulating uncovered water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll generally have access to lots of these materials from a local plumbing company, and may also already have some somewhere in your home.

Be mindful not to wrap up other flammable insulation materials where they can catch fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes by yourself, call your local plumbing services professional in Los Angeles to handle the job.

If you do choose to insulate the pipes yourself, popular insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Many plumbers, hardware stores and large retailers provide insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are sold in various lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: In a pinch, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to buy insulation soon enough, consider covering uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort could be just enough to keep the cold air away from the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can take to stop pipes from freezing in your home is to seal any cracks that could let cold air in your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only should this help to prevent your pipes from freezing, but it will have the extra 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 rooms of your home with pipes will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to reach the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets trickle 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 especially important if there's a room that tends to be colder or hotter than the rest of the home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors tip is the garage door, which you should keep down – particularly if your water lines run through the garage.
  • Keep the heat flowing. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it there, rather than permitting it to get cooler at night. Set it no lower than 55 degrees.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s not difficult to recognize when something breaks down. But what added steps can you take to keep pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for days or even weeks?

As with the main residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to attempt first.

Alternative Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant 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 turn the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts recommend 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 seasonal cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is a good way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Try not to forget to flush the water out of any appliances, such as the hot water heater, or the toilets. Make sure you get all the water from the pipes. If you’re unsure of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident handling it yourself, a plumber in Los Angeles will be glad to assist.