As the big winter storm rolls in everyone is talking about what they can do to help make the storm easier to handle. From seasoned northerners used to the cold facing the coldest temperatures, they have seen in 30 years to southerners whose homes are not prepared for this nearly everyone is wondering ” How do I stop my pipes from freezing?
After the deep freeze a few years ago we realized how easy pipes can freeze when you are worried about other things like ice forming in your windows because you didn’t seal leaky windows enough. There are a few things you can do before and during the storm to protect your plumbing.
What causes pipes to freeze in the winter
When I was younger we had the pipes freeze a few times when living in mobile homes because they tend to allow the cold to hit the pipes directly and the whole situation is no fun.
The story above was because we were focused on heating some parts of the house that a bathroom that was not often used and was in the shut-off part of the house got much too cold.
Your pipes can freeze when they get too cold, they can also freeze when the pipes entering your home get too cold such as your hose spigot. The ice will travel through the pipes and freeze the main areas if you do not take precautions to help keep them from freezing.
How cold does it have to get for pipes to freeze
Pipes can freeze at any point below 20 degrees meaning much of the country is at risk during some part of the next 4 days and you should plan accordingly.
How to stop your pipes from freezing
Seal off pipes from the outside.
Take a moment to shut down the water supply to your hose spigot, remove the hose, and if possible use a spigot cover to help keep some of the cold air from flowing in.
If you can not get a cover now because it is too late you can take andy time of foam insulation even just styrofoam cups in place it over your spigot. Then cover the whole thing with a pillow case and tie it with a string to secure it.
Insulate your pipes
If it is not too late to get the supplies and install them in the area you live you can get heat tape and or foam insulation for your pipes. Foam insulation for your to water pies is a great way to lower your winter power bill.
Allow for airflow
Take the time at night before the cold rolls in to open up your cabinets under your sinks. This will allow the heat of your home to flow around the pipes and help to prevent your water pipes from freezing.
Leave your water dripping
The most common and perhaps one of the most effective things you can do to help protect your pipes in extreme cold is to leave them dripping lightly. This is best done in each sink and bathtub to help prevent the pipes from freezing overnight when they are not being used.
What to do if your pipes freeze anyway
If your pipes freeze do not panic. Depending on how bad the freeze is you may not have a serious situation on your hands just yet. Start by allowing heat to reach your pipes. Kicking up the heat in your house or facing a space heater facing your pipes while leaving them in on the position can help step up the thawing process.
Avoid putting too much heat at once on your frozen pipes to avoid creating more pressure before water can escape. If a water pipe bursts shut it off at the closest valve possible. If you can not find a valve in the area you can turn the water off to the whole home if needed until the situation can be assessed by a plumber.