The snowy winter weather offers a fun day sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the front yard. At the same time, winter weather can be difficult on your home. Severely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which could lead to significant water damage and enduring negative effects.

When your pipes are covered in ice, you should contact a plumber in Thousand Palms to handle the problem. That being said, there’s multiple things you can do to keep this from happening – and even just a bit of prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are exposed water lines. Prevalent locations for uncovered pipes are within attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running beneath a modular home. Water lines that are not appropriately insulated are at the highest risk.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Your Home

Properly insulating exposed water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes free of ice. You’ll often locate most of these materials from your local plumbing company, and might also already have some somewhere in your home.

Be mindful not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they can catch fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Thousand Palms to do the job.

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes on your own, common insulation materials for pipes consist of:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers offer insulation – typically fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to wrap or fit around your pipes. They are offered in differing lengths and sizes to fit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to put in more insulation before then, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you don't have the chance to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper handy, wrapping especially vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort may be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can attempt to stop pipes from becoming frozen is to fill any cracks that can let cold air inside your home. Focus 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 under the sinks and other areas of your home with pipes will enable more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets drip even just a bit can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is mostly important if there's a room that is generally colder or hotter than the remainder of your home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors advice is the garage door, which you should keep down – especially if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than letting it get cooler at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s not difficult to recognize when something isn't right. But what extra steps can you attempt to stop pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for days or even weeks?

As with a primary residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the basic steps to try at first.

Alternative Steps to Prevent 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 colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts recommend keeping the temperature at no cooler 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 vacation cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is a good way to keep pipes from freezing and bursting. Try not to forget to drain the water out of all appliances, like the hot water heater, or the toilets. Confirm you get all the water from the pipes. If you're uncertain of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident performing it without any help, a plumber in Thousand Palms will be happy to step in.