The snowy winter weather brings things like sledding down the highest hill or snowball fights in the front yard. At the same time, winter weather can be difficult on your home. Excessively cold conditions can cause the water lines in your house's plumbing system to freeze and burst, which can result in significant water damage and lasting negative effects.

Once your pipes are frozen solid, you might need to contact a plumber in Columbus to resolve the issue. However, there’s multiple things you can try to keep this from happening – and even minor prevention can go a long way.

What Pipes Are at More Risk of Freezing

The pipes at the largest risk of freezing are uninsulated water lines. Frequent locations for uninsulated 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 biggest risk.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in Your Home

Properly insulating uncovered water lines is a good first step to keeping your pipes safe. You’ll generally find many of these materials from your local plumbing company, and could also already have some inside your home.

Try not to wrap up other flammable insulation materials where they may light on fire. If you don’t feel safe insulating the pipes on your own, call your local plumbing services professional in Columbus to handle the job.

If you do decide 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 wrap or fit around your pipes. They are supplied in numerous lengths and sizes to suit the needs of your home.
  • Newspaper: To some degree, newspaper can be used for insulation. If the weather is getting colder and you aren’t able to add insulation soon enough, try wrapping uninsulated pipes in this.
  • Towels or rags: If you aren’t able to add insulation and don’t have any newspaper to use, wrapping especially vulnerable pipes with towels or clean rags as a last-ditch effort may be just enough to keep the cold air off the pipes.

One other preventative step you can attempt to prevent pipes from becoming frozen is to seal any cracks that could allow cold air into your home. Pay close attention to window frames, which can draw in surprisingly intense drafts. Not only will this help to prevent your pipes from freezing, but it will have the extra 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 underneath the sinks and other spaces of your home with plumbing will enable more warm air from the rest of the room to flow near the pipes.
  • Letting water drip. Letting water flow by letting your faucets move even just a bit can help avoid frozen pipes.
  • Open interior doors. By opening doors in rooms or hallways, your home can be heated more evenly. This is particularly important if you struggle with a room that is generally colder or hotter than other rooms.
  • Close the garage door. The exception to the open doors advice is the garage door, which you should keep closed – especially if your water lines can be found near or under the garage.
  • Keep the heat steady. Experts suggest setting the thermostat at a persistent temperature and leaving it in place, rather than permitting it to get cooler at night. Set it no cooler than 55 degrees.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home

When you’re in your own home, it’s not difficult to know when something isn't right. But what additional steps can you take to prevent pipes from freezing in an unused home or vacation home when the damages from a frozen pipe can remain unnoticed for some time?

As with your primary residence, insulating any exposed water lines, opening interior doors throughout the home and winterizing the vacant home are the first steps to take.

Alternative Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in an Empty Home:

  1. Leave the heat on. Even though you aren't currently using the home, it’s best to keep the heat on – even if you adjust the thermostat down lower than you would if you were there. As with a primary home, experts suggest keeping the temperature at no colder than 55 degrees.
  2. Shut water off and drain the lines. If you’re going to be gone for a long time or are winterizing a rustic cabin or cottage, shutting the water off to the house and draining the water out of the water lines is a good way to stop pipes from freezing and bursting open. Don’t forget to flush the water out of your appliances, such as the hot water heater, or the toilets. Make sure you clear out all the water from the pipes. If you are not sure of how to drain the water from the pipes, or don’t feel secure doing it on your own, a plumber in Columbus will be glad to step in.