The snowy winter weather offers things like sledding down a nearby hill or snowball fights in the front yard. However, winter weather can be hard on your home. Excessively cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which may cause severe water damage and enduring negative effects.

If your pipes are frozen, you might need to contact a plumber in Ellsworth to fix them. However, there’s a lot you can do to prevent this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at a Higher Chance of Freezing

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

How to Keep Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating exposed water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll likely find most of these materials from a local plumbing company, and could also already have some inside your home.

Try not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they can catch fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes yourself, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in Ellsworth to handle the job.

If you do choose to insulate the pipes yourself, common insulation materials for pipes include:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Lots of plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers offer insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in differing lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is cooling down and you aren’t able to put in more insulation soon enough, wrap uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to add 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.

Another preventative step you can attempt to prevent pipes from freezing in your home is to seal up any cracks that may allow cold air inside your home. Focus on the window frames, which can draw in surprisingly intense 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 spaces of your home with pipes 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 a small amount can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is particularly important if there's 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 down – especially if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat flowing. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a constant temperature and leaving it in place, rather than allowing it to get cooler at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re at home, it’s easy to realize when something isn't right. But what additional steps can you try to keep pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for days or even weeks?

As with a 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.

Additional Steps to Stop Pipes from Freezing in an Unused 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 turn the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts recommend keeping the temperature at no lower than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be gone 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 an easy way to keep pipes from freezing and breaking. Don’t forget to clear the water out of any appliances, including the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. Make sure you empty all the water from the pipes. If you're uncertain of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, a plumber in Ellsworth will be happy to step in.