Lots of snow and winter weather offers a fun day sledding down the neighborhood hill or snowball fights in the back 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 may result in significant water damage and enduring negative effects.

When your pipes are frozen solid, you should contact a plumber in Libertyville to fix them. That being said, there’s multiple things you can do to keep 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 exposed water lines. Frequent locations for exposed pipes are in attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running beneath a modular home. Water lines that are not appropriately insulated are at the biggest risk.

How to Prevent 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 find most of these materials from the local plumbing company, and might also already have some somewhere in your home.

Be mindful not to wrap up other flammable insulation materials where they can light on fire. If you don’t feel confident insulating the pipes yourself, get in touch with your local plumbing services professional in Libertyville to do the job.

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

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Multiple plumbers, hardware stores and national retailers sell insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to wrap or fit around your pipes. They are sold in different lengths and sizes to satisfy the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: In a pinch, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is going to get cold and you aren’t able to add insulation before then, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to buy insulation and don’t have any newspaper close by, wrapping notably vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort could be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

An additional preventative step you can attempt to keep pipes from becoming frozen is to seal any cracks that can let cold air inside your home. Focus on the window frames, which can draw in surprisingly powerful drafts. Not only should this help to stop 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 beneath the sinks and other areas of your home that have pipes will allow more warm air from the rest of the room to get to the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets move even a small amount can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors between rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more equally. This is particularly important if you struggle with a room that is generally 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 steady. Experts encourage setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than permitting it to get colder at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Stop Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re inside a house, it’s easier to recognize when something isn't right. But what added steps can you try to prevent pipes from freezing in an empty home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe might not be discovered for a while?

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

Other Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren't currently using the home, it’s best to keep the heat on – even if you turn the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary residence, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no colder than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be gone for a long time or are winterizing a vacation cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and emptying the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Remember to drain the water out of your appliances, including the hot water heater, or the toilets. Confirm you clear out all the water from the pipes. If you're uncertain of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel comfortable handling it without any help, a plumber in Libertyville will be delighted to offer support.