Tips to Help Protect Your Home from Frozen Water Lines

Winter weather in Central Indiana often means snow, cold temperatures and several days below freezing. Frozen pipes are a seasonal issue with the potential to cause major water damage as well as the need for plumbing repairs. When temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to take measures to prevent water pipes from freezing to protect your home. B&W Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains shares tips to help keep pipes from freezing this winter season.

How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing

To prevent pipes from freezing in your home, there are several tasks you should do prior to periods of cold weather. Once temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, you’ll want to take additional steps to protect your pipes from impending freezing conditions.

Winterize Outdoor Faucets

When outdoor faucets freeze, water pipes can burst and cause water leaks. If these pipes run through crawl spaces or under the foundation, it’s not easy to detect damage. Protect these fixtures and winterize them in the fall.

  • Disconnect all hoses from outdoor faucets. Drain water from the hose, coil it, and store it indoors or in a shed for the winter.
  • Inside the home, find the valve on the water pipe that supplies the faucet and close it. This valve typically sits a few feet inside the basement or crawlspace behind the faucet’s location on the wall’s exterior.
  • Outside, open the faucet and allow water to drain from the fixture and its supply pipe.
  • Once water is drained, leave the faucet open for the winter to prevent pressure buildup should remaining water freeze.
  • Cover the hose bib with an insulating cap for the winter.

Insulate Pipes

If you want to prevent frozen water pipes, increased insulation is helpful. Exposed pipes that run through unheated areas such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces are most susceptible to freezing during the winter. Fit foam pipe insulation around the pipes and secure in place. Consider increasing insulation levels in these areas to further protect your home from frozen water lines.

Seal Air Leaks

Cold drafts can enter the spaces where pipes run, further subjecting them to cold temperatures. Reduce cold air infiltration in these areas by identifying air leaks and sealing them. Exterior wall penetrations where water pipes or wires run outside and dryer vents are common locations. Be sure to shut the crawl space vents around your home for the season.

Protect Your Water Heater

In some Central Indiana homes, the water heater is installed in the garage. If this is the situation at your home, you’ll want to keep the overhead door closed as much as possible to protect keep pipes from freezing. Add foam pipe insulation to the water heater’s inlet and outlet pipes. You may also want to use a water heater blanket to help insulate the tank. Each time you open the garage door, make sure it fully shuts.

Open Cabinet Doors

When freezing temperatures are expected, it’s time to protect the pipes inside your home. Water lines installed along exterior walls are most vulnerable to freezing. If you have any sinks installed along exterior walls, open the cabinet doors below to allow the home’s heat to circulate into the space, which can protect against freezing. Make sure to remove any dangerous items that may be stored under the sink.

Open Your Taps

When cold weather moves in, protect your home from frozen water lines by leaving faucets slightly open – this can be helpful throughout the home, but be sure to do so for any faucets installed on exterior walls. Turn water on to just a constant trickle. This keeps water moving through the line to reduce the likelihood of frozen pipes.

What to Do If Pipes Freeze

Despite best efforts to protect your home from frozen water lines, frozen pipes can still happen. If pipes freeze, they could burst and cause a leak when they thaw. Know where your home’s main water shut-off valve is located so you can quickly turn off the water supply if leaks occur.

For help thawing frozen pipes or repairing pipes when they are damaged by freezing temperatures, B&W is here to help. Our licensed Indianapolis plumbers are available to assist you when you face plumbing troubles at home. Contact us today to schedule service.