13 - Steps on How to Protect your Pipes during the Winter

Writen by
Guy's Team
Category
Plumbing
Date
January 14, 2023
Blog Image

With the winter season upon us, protecting your home and preventing pipes from freezing is essential, especially in Amarillo, Texas. Frozen pipes can lead to severe water damage and expensive repairs. No one wants that. Below are some tips on preventing your pipes from freezing and bursting this winter.   

1. Keep your home warm 

It may seem obvious, but it's worth repeating: Your home needs to be heated for your pipes to stay warm and avoid freezing over. If you're going to be away from home for an extended period, make sure to set the temperature no lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit; this will help prevent your pipes from freezing while you're gone.

If you cannot set your home's temperature that high for whatever reason, there are other things you can do to help keep your pipes warm. For example, you can:

- Open the cabinet doors under your sinks to allow heat to reach the pipes

- Wrap insulation around the pipes, either with pre-made insulation sleeves or with some old towels or newspapers       

- Place a space heater near the area where your pipes are located

2. Let water drip

During frigid temperatures, letting a steady stream of water drip from the faucet can help reduce the chances of your pipes freezing. This works because running water is less likely to freeze than standing still, even if it's a cold water drip. If you're going to be away from home for an extended period, turn off the water supply lines to your house, and check all your bathroom sinks. This will help minimize the chances of your pipes freezing and bursting while you're gone. Remember, make sure to drain water in your kitchen and bathroom sinks as well.

3. Insulating pipes 

If you have any exposed pipes in your home, make sure to insulate them to prevent pipe freezes. This can include pipes in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Use a foam insulation wrap or mineral wool insulation to keep these pipes warm during cold temperatures and prevent frozen pipes. A few dollars spent on pipe insulation now can save you a lot of money later. You can find pipe insulation at your local hardware store; measure your pipes before you head out, so you know how much you need to prevent exposed pipes or a frozen pipe. 

If you're looking for an even more comprehensive solution, you can install pipe insulation sleeves. These sleeves fit snugly around your pipes and provide extra insulation for protection against frozen pipes. They can be a bit more expensive than other methods, but they're a great way to protect your pipes from the cold weather. You can find pipe insulation sleeves at your local hardware store or online.

4. Seal air leaks

Check your home for drafty spots, such as windows and doors that aren't adequately sealed. If the cold air can get in, it can also get to your pipes. Ensure all your windows, door frames, and other areas are properly insulated to keep the cold out. If you experience a frozen pipe, don't try to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame which can cause the pipe to burst. Instead, use a hair dryer or hot water bottle to melt the ice slowly. Check your home for gaps around windows and doors that may let in the cold. If you find any, use weatherstripping or caulk to seal them, which will help keep the cold out and your pipes protected.

5. Disconnect outdoor hoses

Another critical step is disconnecting outdoor hoses and draining them before winter arrives. Make sure to shut off the valve that supplies water to the hose. Additionally, only a trickle of water needs to come out, and ensure the outdoor hose bibs are covered.

6. Keep cabinets open

If you have any cabinets with pipes running through them, keeping those doors open during colder months allows warm air to circulate around the pipes and helps prevent them from freezing, including bathroom cabinets.

  

7. Know where your main water shut-off valve is 

In an emergency, it's essential to know where your main water shut-off valve is so you can turn off the water supply quickly and prevent further damage. Make sure all members of your household know where this valve is located in case of an emergency.

8. Check for leaks or cracks regularly

Inspect all of your pipes regularly for any cracks or leaks. These need to be fixed as soon as possible as they can turn into more significant problems if left unchecked. If you decide to use Guy's this is included in our Maintenance Plans.

9. Keep your garage door closed 

If you have a garage, keep it closed when the temperature outside drops below freezing. Cold air can enter your home through the open door and create drafts that could cause your pipes to freeze.

10. Use a heat lamp

A heat lamp can be a great way to keep your pipes warm if they're located in a particularly cold area of your home. Position the lamp near the pipes so they stay warm and protected from the cold weather. Having a portable space heater is also good to keep you warm.

11. Don't forget about outside faucets

If you have any exterior faucets, wrap them in some type of insulation like newspapers or Styrofoam cups to protect them from the cold weather which will help reduce the chances of them freezing over and becoming unusable.

12. Keep an eye on weather reports

Monitoring weather reports are an excellent way to anticipate potential problems with frozen pipes before they happen. If you see that there's going to be a significant cold snap in your area, take some precautionary steps to protect your pipes ahead of time.

13. Know when to call a professional

If you’re not confident in fixing a plumbing issue, don’t hesitate to contact Guy's Plumbing, Heating & Air. Trying DIY methods when you’re in over your head can often do more harm than good. Hence, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

These tips can help keep your pipes safe during winter and avoid costly repair bills. If you have any questions about protecting your pipes, don’t hesitate to contact Guy's Plumbing, Heating and Air for assistance. We look forward to helping you keep your home warm and safe this winter.