The snowy winter weather presents a great opportunity for fun activities like sledding down a nearby hill or snowball fights in the front yard. However, winter weather can be tough on your home. Extremely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your plumbing to freeze and burst, which could cause serious water damage and long-lasting negative effects.

If your pipes are covered in ice, you might need to call a plumber in Lansing to handle the problem. Nevertheless, there’s a lot you can attempt to keep this from happening – and even a little prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the highest 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 underneath a modular home. Water lines that are not correctly insulated are at the greatest risk.

How to Prevent Pipes from Becoming Frozen in Your Home

Thoroughly insulating uncovered water lines is a solid first step to keeping your pipes ice free. You’ll often find lots of these materials from the local plumbing company, and may also already have some someplace in your home.

Be mindful not to cover other flammable insulation materials where they can catch fire. If you don’t feel comfortable insulating the pipes by yourself, contact your local plumbing services professional in Lansing to get the job done right.

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

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Many plumbers, hardware stores and big box retailers sell insulation – usually fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in various lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used as insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to buy insulation soon enough, wrap uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you miss the opportunity to buy 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 away from the pipes.

One other preventative step you can try to keep pipes from becoming frozen is to seal any cracks that could permit cold air in your home. Keep an eye on the window frames, which can let in surprisingly powerful drafts. This not only will 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 underneath the sinks and other spaces of your home that have pipes will allow more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Keeping a flow of water by letting your faucets trickle 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 evenly. This is especially important if you have a room that is frequently colder or hotter than the rest of the home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors recommendation is the garage door, which you should keep shut – particularly if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat consistent. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than permitting it to get cooler at night. Set it no colder than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in an Unused Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s easy to know when something goes wrong. But what added steps can you try to stop pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the damages from a frozen pipe may not be discovered for some time?

As with a primary residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the best steps to take.

Additional Steps to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren’t going to be there, it’s best to leave the heat on – even if you switch the thermostat down colder than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no cooler than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be away for several weeks or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, switching the water off to the house and clearing the water out of the water lines is one way to keep pipes from freezing and breaking. Don’t forget to clear the water out of all appliances, including the hot water heater, or the toilets. See to it that you get all the water from the plumbing. If you’re unsure of how to clear out the water from the pipes, or don’t feel confident handling it without any help, a plumber in Lansing will be delighted to step in.