Lots of snow and winter weather brings things like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the front yard. At the same time, winter weather can be tough on your home. Severely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which may lead to severe water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

Once your pipes are frozen, you might need to contact a plumber in Greater Richmond to fix them. That being said, there’s multiple things you can attempt to prevent this from happening – and even minor prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are uninsulated water lines. Frequent locations for uninsulated pipes are within attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running under a modular home. Water lines that are not appropriately insulated are at the greatest risk.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing Over in Your Home

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

Be careful not to wrap other flammable insulation materials where they can light on fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes yourself, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in Greater Richmond to handle the job.

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

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers sell insulation – usually 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 getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation in time, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to add 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 from freezing the pipes.

Another preventative step you can attempt to prevent pipes from freezing in your home is to seal any cracks that could allow cold air into your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can draw in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only should this help to keep 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 pipes will permit more warm air from the rest of the room to get to the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets move even a small amount can help prevent frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is particularly important if you struggle with a room that is frequently colder or hotter than the remainder of your home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors tip is the garage door, which you should keep down – especially if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat steady. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it alone, rather than letting it get colder at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re inside a house, it’s easy to realize when something isn't right. But what additional steps can you attempt to stop pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the consequences from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for a while?

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 take.

Extra Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you won't always be home, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you turn 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 vacation cabin or cottage, turning the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting open. Remember to clear the water out of any appliances, including the hot water heater, and the toilets. See to it that you clear out all the water from the plumbing. If you are not sure of how to flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it yourself, a plumber in Greater Richmond will be happy to help.