Snow-covered winter weather offers fun activities like sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. That being said, winter weather can be tough on your home. Severely cold conditions can encourage the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which can cause severe water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

When your pipes are covered in ice, you may want to hire a plumber in Port Clinton to fix them. However, there’s several tasks you can try to prevent this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the highest risk of freezing are exposed 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 highest risk.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating exposed water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes ice free. You’ll likely have access to many of these materials from the local plumbing company, and could also already have some someplace in your home.

Be careful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they might be caught on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Port Clinton to do the job.

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

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Most plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers sell insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are sold in numerous lengths and sizes to fit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To a decent degree, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to put in more insulation soon enough, consider covering 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 can be just enough to keep the cold air from freezing the pipes.

One other preventative step you can try to stop pipes from freezing in your home is to fill any cracks that may let cold air into your home. Focus on the window frames, which can allow in surprisingly powerful drafts. This not only will help to prevent your pipes from freezing, but it will have the added 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 rooms 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 thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is mostly important if you struggle with a room that is generally colder or hotter than other rooms.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors advice is the garage door, which you should keep closed – namely if your water lines are installed under the garage.
  • Keep the heat flowing. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than letting it get colder at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s not difficult to know when something breaks down. But what additional steps can you attempt to stop pipes from freezing in a vacant home or vacation home when the damages from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for a while?

As with a primary residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors inside the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to attempt 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 leave the heat on – even if you adjust the thermostat down lower than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts encourage keeping the temperature at no lower than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be out of the house for a long time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is an easy way to stop pipes from freezing and breaking. Try not to forget to clear the water out of your appliances, like the hot water heater, or the toilets. Make sure you empty all the water from the plumbing. If you’re unsure of how to flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel comfortable performing it on your own, a plumber in Port Clinton will be happy to help.