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Complete Guide on How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Winter

September 27, 2022

The snowy winter weather offers things like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. That being said, winter weather can be hard on your home. Extremely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which may result in severe water damage and enduring negative effects.

If your pipes are frozen solid, you may want to hire a plumber in Los Angeles to handle the problem. However, there’s several tasks you can attempt to stop this from happening – and even minor prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at a Higher Chance of Freezing

The pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Common 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 highest risk.

How to Prevent Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Properly insulating exposed water lines is a great first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll often have access to lots of these materials from your local plumbing company, and might also already have some someplace in your home.

Be mindful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they might light on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes on your own, call your local plumbing services professional in Los Angeles to do the job.

If you do choose to insulate the pipes on your own, good insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Many plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers provide insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in different lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is going to get cold and you aren’t able to put in more insulation in time, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping particularly vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort can be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

One other preventative step you can take to stop pipes from being covered in ice is to seal up any cracks that could permit cold air into your home. Focus on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only will 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 spaces of your home with plumbing will allow more warm air from the rest of the room to get to the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping the water flowing by letting your faucets move even just a little can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is mostly important if you struggle with 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 down – particularly if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a persistent temperature and leaving it there, rather than allowing it to get lower at night. Set it no lower than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re at home, it’s easy to recognize when something isn't right. But what additional steps can you try to stop 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, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the basic steps to attempt first.

Alternative Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you won't always be home, it’s best to keep the heat on – even if you adjust 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 gone for a long time or are winterizing a seasonal cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is an easy way to keep pipes from freezing and bursting open. Don’t forget to clear the water out of all appliances, like the hot water heater, and the toilets. See to it that you clear out all the water from the system. If you are not sure of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident performing it on your own, a plumber in Los Angeles will be happy to step in.