If you live in an area prone to freezing temperatures or have a home that isn’t insulated properly, you may be at risk of having your pipes freeze. Frozen pipes can cause a wide variety of problems, from minor inconveniences to major disasters. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing and reducing the risk of secondary damage due to frozen water. Here are some helpful tips for preventing your pipes from freezing this winter.
Install frost protection on your water pipes.
Frost protection is a type of temperature control that automatically warms your water pipes as they begin to freeze. These systems are typically installed on outdoor water pipes and can often prevent freeze damage entirely. If you have a system installed on your outdoor water pipes, be sure to check the system regularly to ensure it’s functioning properly. A frozen outdoor water pipe can be extremely difficult to unfreeze, and the damage caused by a freeze could be expensive to repair. If you don’t have frost protection on your water pipes and expect the weather to get cold, you can also place a bucket of warm water near your outdoor water valves to prevent freezing.
Install heating coils or a wrap on your water pipes.
Heating coils are a popular choice for protecting water pipes from freezing. These devices can be wrapped around the water pipes in your home and plugged into an outlet to keep them warm. If you have metal water pipes, you may want to opt for a heating wrap instead. Wraps are typically wrapped around plastic water pipes and come with a built-in thermostat to regulate the temperature. Both heating coils and wraps are relatively inexpensive and can prevent a great deal of protecting pipes from freezing. Be sure to monitor the temperature of your water pipes regularly and shut off the heating coils when the weather begins to warm.
Change your shower head to prevent scalding.
Many people don’t even consider the risk of scalding when the weather outside is cold. If you’re using a standard shower head without any kind of temperature control, a sudden burst of cold water could easily scald you. If you want to avoid this risk, you can change your shower head to one that includes temperature control. You can also use a shower head with a built-in anti-scald feature.
Check and refill your radiator tank.
If your home is heated with steam radiators, you’ll need to periodically check the water levels in the individual radiator tanks. You’ll probably want to check and refill the radiator tanks before the weather starts getting cold, to give the water inside time to heat up. If you don’t maintain the proper water levels in the radiator tanks, the water could freeze and burst the radiator, which can cause significant damage to your home. You should also make sure there’s adequate ventilation in the room where your steam radiator is located to prevent it from overheating. Learn more!
Turn off the valves to stop the flow of water.
If you know a storm is coming, you can turn off the water valves leading to your outdoor water spigots to prevent freeze damage. This is usually only necessary if the temperatures are expected to get well below freezing, like if an arctic freeze is expected. Make sure to turn the water valves back on as soon as it’s safe. If you don’t turn the water off at the valves, the water inside the pipes will begin to freeze, making it much harder to thaw the pipes once the weather warms up again.
Maintain adequate ventilation in your home – especially in the bathroom.
If your home is uninsulated, you’ll want to make sure you’re maintaining adequate ventilation to prevent moisture from building up and causing problems. In particular, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the bathroom, where humidity can cause a lot of damage. If the humidity in your bathroom gets too high, you could suffer from mold or mildew problems, which can be very expensive to remediate. You may want to consider installing a fan in your bathroom to keep it dry and prevent these issues. Learn more!
Be sure to follow these tips to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter. Even if you live in an area that rarely experiences freezing temperatures, you may still be at risk of having your pipes freeze. Pipes can freeze if they’re improperly insulated or if there’s not enough heat being used in the house. If you keep these simple tips in mind, you can greatly reduce the risk of freezing pipes.