The snowy winter weather offers fun activities like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the neighbor's yard. However, winter weather can be hard on your home. Extremely cold conditions can cause the water lines in your home to freeze and burst, which could result in serious water damage and lasting negative effects.

If your pipes are frozen solid, you should hire a plumber in Sandpoint to fix them. However, there’s several tasks you can do to stop this from happening – and even just a bit of prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are uncovered water lines. Frequent locations for exposed pipes are in attic crawlspaces, near exterior walls, in the basement or even running under a modular home. Water lines that are not correctly insulated are at the greatest risk.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Your Home

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

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

If you do prefer to insulate the pipes on your own, common insulation materials for pipes include:

  • Wraps or roll insulation: Multiple plumbers, hardware stores and large retailers offer insulation – commonly fiberglass, foam wraps or pipe sleeves – that you can use to cover or fit around your pipes. They are sold in different lengths and sizes to satisfy 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 buy 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 handy, wrapping especially vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a final effort could be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

Another preventative step you can take to stop pipes from freezing in your home is to fill any cracks that can let cold air into your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can let in surprisingly powerful drafts. This not only will 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 spaces of your home with pipes will enable 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 drip even just a bit can help thwart frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors for rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is especially important if you have a room that is generally colder or hotter than the remainder of your home.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors advice is the garage door, which you should keep shut – especially if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat flowing. Experts recommend setting the thermostat at a stable temperature and leaving it in place, rather than letting it get colder at night. Set it no lower than 55 degrees.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in a Vacant Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s easier to know when something goes wrong. But what extra steps can you take to prevent pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the damage from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for some time?

As with the main residence, placing extra insulation around any exposed water lines, opening interior doors in the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to take.

Extra 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 switch the thermostat down cooler than you would if you were there. As with a primary house, experts recommend 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 an extended period of time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, turning the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is one way to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Try not to forget to flush the water out of any appliances, including the hot water heater, as well as the toilets. Make sure you clear out all the water from the system. If you’re unsure of how to flush the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it on your own, a plumber in Sandpoint will be glad to assist.