For homeowners looking to travel this winter, leaving your heater turned on and a few faucets running while you’re away might just save you from dealing with the headache and frustration—not to mention expenses—caused by frozen pipes. No one wants to come home to such an expensive and all-around preventable problem, which is why it’s important to prepare ahead of time.
Now that you are aware that pipes can freeze in the winter and cause havoc on your plumbing system, finding effective ways to stop it from happening are essential. AP Plumbing has the experience from 35+ years in the business to protect your pipes from bursting in the winter. Here are some of our favorite tips you can use to help prevent pipes from freezing over the winter.
Identify Potential Problem Areas
The majority of your plumbing system has precautions in place to prevent cold temperatures from freezing your pipes. However, pipes found in the unheated interior spaces of your home (think basements, attics, crawl spaces, and the like) are at greater risk.
Invest in Pipe Insulation
These pipe sections face a higher likelihood of freezing over during the cold winter months due to the lack of protection and pipe insulation. Taking the time to invest in easy-to-install and affordable pipe insulation can provide the unheated areas of your home with additional protection. Your local hardware store has different types of insulation for sale at competitive prices to give you a head start.
Know the Recommended Temperature to Keep Your Pipes At
Keeping your pipes above a certain temperature threshold goes a long way towards preventing your pipes from freezing. The general rule of thumb requires homeowners to keep their pipes above 20° Fahrenheit to prevent them from freezing over. However, additional external factors can come into play that can cause your pipes to freeze. Knowing your area and how cold it can get at any given time can help you take the right precautions.
Keep Your Thermostat Set to a Specific Temperature
While you may be tempted to turn your thermostat off while you’re off on vacation, leaving your home completely unheated can adversely affect your plumbing. As temperatures drop with the cold weather, your home needs a continuous supply of warm air to keep your pipes above the recommended temperature.
If your home’s internal temperature continues to drop, your pipes are at a higher risk of freezing over and causing more significant problems. Keep the heating system set to no less than 55° F if you’re away from home for an extended period.
Be Mindful of What Doors You Keep Open
Your home’s plumbing system represents a complex system of pipes that provide every part of your home with the water you need. The doors you leave open can play a vital role in getting the right amount of air circulation to help keep your pipes warm. Keep your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to better circulate warm air that will help keep your pipes from freezing over.
Additionally, keeping your garage door closed can help you better regulate your home’s temperature. With the garage door open to the outside, cold air can come in and mess with the delicate balance that helps prevent your pipes from freezing.
What Do I Do If My Pipes Freeze?
When you try to thaw frozen pipes, you need to have a plan to do it so that it won’t cause additional water damage. While a burst pipe means you need to shut off the water supply immediately to prevent flooding, you can try these steps to thaw frozen pipes:
- Turn on the faucet.
- Apply heat to the frozen area.
- Keep the flame there until you achieve full water pressure.
- Call the professionals at AP Plumbing if you can’t find the frozen pipe.
Keep Your Pipes in Check This Winter
You shouldn’t have to worry about significant water damage caused by burst pipes this winter when you go on vacation. With these expert tips from the AP Plumbing team, you can be better prepared for the winter weather. Contact our team to schedule your first appointment today!