Lots of snow and winter weather presents a great opportunity for a fun day sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the neighbor’s yard. At the same time, winter weather can be hard on your home. Excessively cold conditions can cause the water lines in your plumbing to freeze and burst, which could lead to significant water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen, you should contact a plumber in Sussex County to handle the problem. Nevertheless, there’s several tasks you can do to stop this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the greatest risk of freezing are uncovered water lines. Common locations for exposed pipes are in 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 Keep Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating uncovered water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll generally locate lots of these materials from the local plumbing company, and might also already have some someplace in your home.

Try not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they may light on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes by yourself, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in Sussex County to handle the job.

If you do decide to insulate the pipes by yourself, good insulation materials for pipes are:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and large retailers provide insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are sold in various lengths and sizes to fit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as an insulator. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to buy insulation soon enough, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, 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 up any cracks that could allow cold air in your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only should this help to stop 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 areas of your home with plumbing 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 drip even just a bit can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is especially important if you have a room that tends to be colder or hotter than the remainder of your home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors recommendation is the garage door, which you should keep shut – namely if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it alone, rather than letting it get cooler at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re at home, it’s easier to know when something breaks down. But what additional steps can you attempt to prevent pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for some time?

As with the main residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to take.

Added Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren’t going to be there, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, 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 out of the house for an extended period of time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is one way to keep pipes from freezing and bursting open. Don’t forget to drain the water out of all appliances, such as the hot water heater, or the toilets. Make sure you get all the water from the system. If you’re uncertain of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it on your own, a plumber in Sussex County will be glad to step in.