When temperatures plummet, the chance of ending up with frozen pipes skyrockets. When this happens pipes can burst, a leading cause of property damage during icy weather and can end up costing thousands of dollars in water damage. The pipes that are at the highest risk of freezing are those located in unheated places like attics, basements, and garages. In some cases, pipes that run through exterior walls and cabinets can freeze as well. The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing and your home safe and dry.
Seal Gaps and Holes
Seal any gaps around the holes that the pipes run through (with caulking or spray foam insulation), wherever holes are letting in the frigid air.
Open Cabinet Doors
Open cabinet doors in the kitchen, bathroom, and utility rooms to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing, particularly if the sinks are situated on an exterior wall.
Allow Faucets to Drip
Once freezing temperatures occur, start a small drip of water in all faucets in the home. It only takes a small drip of water to keep the water flowing through the system and prevent frozen pipes.
Setting the Thermostat
Set the thermostat to the same temperature and keep it that way 24/7 because the warmth will help protect against frozen pipes or burst pipes. Cold snaps aren’t the time to set back the thermostat at night just to save a few bucks on the heating bill.
Going Out of Town?
It’s common knowledge that water freezes at 32° F. This means that if you’re going out of town for an extended period of time you need to keep your home warm. By keeping the indoor temperature in the 50° to 60° range, you’ll help prevent the risk of damaged pipes because the temperature in your home won’t drop to freezing temperature ranges.
Adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces will help maintain higher temperatures in those areas. To prevent drafts, seal openings and cracks around doors and windows. Additionally, you can wrap pipes in heat tape or heat cables with thermostat control.
Disconnect Water Hoses
Make sure to disconnect hoses from your outdoor faucets. Even frost-proof outdoor faucets will end up bursting if a garden hose is left connected.
Always call a plumber right away if you suspect that you have frozen pipes. Want to make sure you haven’t missed anything while “freeze” proofing your home? Have a trusted plumber perform an inspection.