When winter brings a drastic decline in temperatures, homeowners begin taking preventative measures to prepare their homes for potential damages. During colder seasons, frozen pipes are a common and expensive occurrence. It can cost up to $5,000 to repair those pipes.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. These methods may cause your heating bill to increase a little. However, it is better to have a more expensive heating bill than a considerable expense that could have been easily avoided.
Why Is It Important to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Subfreezing Temperatures?
When temperatures begin dropping dramatically, water pipes become more susceptible to freezing. When water freezes inside a pipe, it expands and puts the entire system at risk of rupturing. This can lead to significant leaks and even flooding.
Not only will you have a mess on your hands, but it can cost up to $5,000 or more to fix. After all, this is not a problem you will be able to fix yourself. Instead, you will have to call a plumber who, depending on where the rupture occurred, might even need to demolish part of your house’s walls.
Taking preventative steps will cost a lot less than repair costs and will save you the headache of dealing with damages.
5 Common Ways to Prevent Pipes from Freezing
You can easily avoid frozen pipes with a few simple methods. Choosing one of these five methods will save you from the stress of dealing with pipe ruptures.
#1: Allow Faucets to Drip
Simply running your faucets is an effective way to prevent your pipes from freezing. First, you need to figure out which faucets are connected to exposed piping. Then, you can leave these running during frigid weather.
This works because the running water creates a bit of friction. This constant friction creates a small amount of heat and prevents freezing. It also relieves the buildup of pressure in cold pipes, making them less susceptible to rupture.
One difficulty that may arise is finding the right faucets.
If you take a guess and choose the wrong one, a rupture is highly likely to occur. To make sure you choose the right faucets, make sure to read our detailed guide on the process.
#2: Insulate Pipes
Deciding to purchase pipe insulation made from fiberglass, polyethylene, or foam is the best way to prevent your pipes from freezing. The insulation itself is usually relatively inexpensive.
You can try to install it yourself, but there will be hard to reach areas you’ll need a professional plumber for. Unfortunately, this comes with an added cost of $100 to $1,000. Just remember that you are investing in your home.
Also, make sure to pay close attention to the unheated portions of your home that can easily be forgotten. Areas like the attic, garage, or basement all require pipe insulation too.
#3: Keep Interior Doors Open
Warmth in many homes is usually not evenly distributed. One way to keep your home at a consistent temperature is to open all interior doors. You’ll also want to open all cabinet doors.
Pipes that are in the bathroom and kitchen cabinets are vulnerable to freezing. Keeping the cabinet doors open will allow the heat to circulate thoroughly and keep the pipes warm.
If you know the night will be particularly cold, opening up the cabinets before bedtime can drastically reduce the chances of your pipes rupturing. One important thing to note while keeping cabinets open is to remove all chemicals and other hazardous materials. This will keep any small children or pets safe from getting ahold of them.
#4: Keep the Heat On
If you are leaving your home during the winter, then it is a good idea to keep the heat on while you’re gone. Pipes could freeze and burst while you’re away. The flooding would then cause even more issues because you don’t tend to it right away.
You don’t have to keep your house as warm as you usually would, however. Keeping the thermostat at 55 degrees and up will keep your pipes safe.
Although this method comes with an additional cost and may seem excessive, it is still less money and less of a headache than repairing ruptured pipes. It is a small price to pay to come back to a home that doesn’t have water dripping from the ceiling.
#5: Keep Your Thermostat Consistent
Another way to prevent frozen pipes is by keeping the heat in your house consistent. This is similar to opening interior doors to keep the heat flowing freely. You don’t want any part of your home to be extremely cold, while other parts are very warm.
Many people tend to lower their thermostats during the evening to save a little bit of money. But during cold Winter months, it is better to keep your thermostat as consistent as possible throughout the day and during the night. This is because any sudden temperature changes will affect your pipes.
Again, the downside to this is an additional heating cost. But the pros drastically outweigh the cons. Your pipes have a better chance of survival by keeping the thermostat on.
What Is the Best Way to Prevent Pipes from Freezing?
Working directly with your water pipes by insulating them is the absolute best way to prevent them from freezing. The insulation materials also tend to be incredibly inexpensive. The installation can range from $100 to $1000, but this is still considerably less than the cost to fix damages.
Insulating pipes also adds an extra layer of protection for homeowners who tend to travel during the winter. Using this method, along with others, can give you peace of mind knowing your pipes are reliably protected while you’re away on vacation.
Cold temperatures bring on additional worries to homeowners. Frozen water pipes can quickly turn into a disastrous flood and thousands of dollars spent on repairs. Fortunately, the more methods you use, the greater chance you have of your water pipes not rupturing.
You may still be worried about the cost of pipe insulation and heating expenses. But just remember that taking these preventative measures is an excellent investment to ensure the integrity of your home.