No one wants the pipes of their home to freeze during the winter. This leads to a lack of hot water in one’s home, which can be quite a burden during the colder months of the year. The reason pipes freeze when its cold out is that the water’s heat is exposed to subfreezing air. The best way to avoid this is to protect the pipes from extremely cold temperatures. Water pipes should always be in the heated part of a house and not in a crawl space, attic or near outside walls that are exposed to the cold air. In the event that the water pipes are in an undesirable location, a plumber should be able to move the pipes around if there is room to do so in the house.
In many cases, moving the water pipes around in a house is impossible. This is when it is best to simply wrap the pipes in sleeves that provide insulation, keeping the pipes warm even if they are exposed to cold air. This will keep the pipes warm longer because it will impede the transfer of heat. When insulating pipes, it is important to use as much insulation as possible. The pipes need to be thoroughly covered in order to achieve optimal heating of the water. It is important that if there are any holes or cracks in the walls and foundations near the pipes, those holes and cracks need to be sealed with caulk. This will prevent cold wind from hitting the pipes. Another way to protect the pipes from freezing is to put electric heating tape on the pipes, which will prevent the water in the pipes from freezing up. Anyone using this tape needs to be very careful to use it safely. Some heating tapes even have a thermostat built-in that automatically turns the heat on when necessary. Heating tape that does not come with a thermostat must be turned on in order to heat up the water pipes.
Another way to prevent frozen pipes throughout the winter is to leave the faucet on just enough to allow the water to drip out of it. This keeps the pipes from freezing and bursting. The open faucet relieves pressure that can be caused when water freezes and blocks the flow of the pipes. A lack of excess water pressure will prevent the pipe from bursting during the winter. If a spigot is served by both cold and hot water, the cold water and the hot water both need to drip out of the faucet because even hot water can freeze.
Temperature of the Home
Anyone who travels during the winter needs to be mindful of how much they lower the heat before leaving. Lowering the heat could lead to pipes freezing if the temperature were to drop low enough in the time the homeowner is away. Experts recommend people drain their water system before leaving for a trip. Pipes will not be able to freeze if there is no water in them.