How to Prevent Freezing Pipes This Winter

header image for stop plumbing from freezing in winter

What can be worse than a significant house disaster? Try having multiple major home disasters all at once.

When the pipes in a house freeze, it is more of a problem than just calling a plumber.

The smallest of cracks in a pipe can spew gallons of water by the hundreds a day.

Amounts such as this can easily cause structural damage, be a potential for mold, and severe flooding. Frozen water lines are problematic in both warm and colder climates whether the pipes are plastic or
copper.

All pipes are a disaster waiting to happen without proper precautions. However, by taking the steps necessary, most situations are typically preventable.

Most frozen pipe situations are easily preventable with a few precautionary measures.

In this article, we will address why pipes freeze in the first place, how to help prevent freezing pipe problems and what to do if your pipes freeze.

Winter is Here, how to make sure pipes don’t freeze

It has been a baffling winter so far as Mother Nature shocked the southern states with snow and low temperatures and the already cold regions got even colder. When it comes to water, winter, and pipes, unless you are ready can be a big disaster. How cold does it have to be for pipes to burst? Assume prolonged temperatures under 30 degrees.

Water expands as it freezes. When this happens in pipes, these expansions will cause the pipes to rupture. The hard part is locating and insulating as much as possible.

The actual damage typically does not occur where the pipes are frozen, but between the freezing point and the faucet. As the ice completely blocks the pipe and expands, the water pressure also increases. Too much pressure is what causes the pipe to rupture.

In the northern states, pipes are in well-insulated spaces which reduces the risk of a hard freeze.

snowfall in reno in winter, prevent freezing pipes

However, in the warmer regions because temperatures are generally above subfreezing water pipes are at high risk in unexpected drops in temperature.

Water lines that run through exterior walls and uninsulated crawlspaces and attics are most vulnerable to hard freezes. However, in either region, when there are prolonged subfreezing temperatures, cracks in foundations, walls and entry points, this puts water lines at risk.

Inadequate insulation is usually the cause for pipes to freeze and rupture. Hose spigots on the outside are also high risk if not wrapped with insulation. While both copper and plastic pipes can freeze copper is more likely to rupture.

Prepare Before  Freezing Temperatures Hit

Locate your water shut-off: Unless you have had a reason to turn your water off, you may not be familiar with where the shutoff valve is. You can find this valve in one of the areas where water comes into your home. Be sure to locate it before a hard freeze.

Shut off outside hose bibs: If you have updated spigots with long shafts, these generally take care of themselves, but older models usually have an inside shutoff valve.

Be sure to open doors under the cabinets: Open the cabinet doors open under the kitchen sink
and bathroom vanity to allow warm air to the pipes. Be sure all cleaning supplies are out of children’s reach.

Let the water drip slow: Some people swear by this while others feel it is a waste of time. Turn your water on with a slow continuous drip to prevent freezing.

In case of a frozen pipe

infographic of what to do if your pipes do freeze

You may notice that your water is moving slow from a tap or that it has stopped flowing altogether.

If it is only one facet that you see these changes then more than likely the issues are local.

There are many ways to thaw a pipe.

First, open the faucet so that the water will run when the area is thawing.

Hot Water: Warm a towel using hot water and wrap it around the pipe. Be very careful not to
burn yourself. Use a bucket to catch the excess water.

Hairdryer, paint remover gun or heat lamp: This is the safest way to thaw frozen pipes. Continue to apply heat slowly on the frozen area until the water is running freely.

What to do If a pipe bursts

If you have ever experienced a busted pipe, then you will understand why the best advice is to turn off the water at the shut-off valve, open a few faucets to help release built-up pressure and call your plumber.

Frozen faucet during winter time

Other Winter HVAC and Home Repair Tips

 Get familiar with your heaters outside combustion air to make sure it does not get
buried deep in the snow and ice.
 Drain water from outdoor sprinkler systems and spigots to keep the pipes from freezing.
 Disconnect and store outdoor hoses
 Cover outdoor faucets with foam insulators.
 Prevent ice dams by clearing leaves from gutters
 Inspect your fireplace and chimney
 Seal doors and windows
 Stock up on flashlights and batteries

Conclusion on how to keep pipes from freezing

We hope these suggestions will help keep your winter without the worry of freezing pipe problems.

Having to call a plumber on a cold winters night is never a fun thing to do. However, if you find yourself needing assistance with your heating, our team at All Hours Air is ready for the job any time of the night or day. Even if you need a new furnace or heating system installed, we have you covered.

So many things can happen to a heating system that can be hard to catch unless you are a professional. With us, we take your families warm home in the winter personal. Whether it be night or day, we are here for you.

Give our professions a call and let us get you through the cold winter season.

Also, summer is right around the corner so you may want to call and schedule AC Repair in Reno or HVAC services in Sparks.

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