Keeping Your Pipes from Freezing

by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 5, 2014)

When I was a newlywed, we lived in Appalachia where the housing is either antiquated or prefabricated. Our first home was the former, since we could not afford the latter. Although the house was fully plumbed, it did not have a pump to extract the water from the well. We eventually saved enough money to buy and install a pump, and my then-husband hooked the plumbing to the pump that hot summer, and we finally had water at our fingertips when we turned on the faucets inside the house. That winter, however, we learned the hard way that the PVC pipes under the house were not insulated, so the water inside froze, expanded, and burst the pipes. I spent many frigid hours underneath the house in the tiny crawl space with my husband, holding a flashlight while he patched the pipes and then insulated them.

Whether your water source is from a well or your city, it enters your home as cold water. Keeping the water from turning to ice during cold weather is easily preventable, and can save you much time, energy, and money in repairs. Plan ahead while the weather is still warm, and then follow these guidelines for keeping your pipes from freezing in cold weather:

  • Inspect the pipes. Inspect your home and determine the location of all of your water pipes. Note the location on a piece of paper. While you're writing down the location of the pipes, inspect existing insulation and make note of those pipes that need to be reinsulated. And certainly note which pipes have no insulation. This way, you can determine how much insulation to buy.
  • Check the locations. Check pipes that are particularly vulnerable to cold weather, such as in crawl spaces, along outside walls, under the house, in the garage, or any other unheated location. Install insulation accordingly.
  • Get the insulation. Visit your local home improvement or hardware store and buy pipe insulation and install it.
  • Limit the water. Before freezing weather sets in, turn off the water supply to outside faucets. On particularly cold nights, allow a trickle of hot water to run through your taps, since flowing water won't freeze as rapidly as still water.

Other measures you can take are to install electrically powered heat tape to your pipes; use heating lamps to warm the area; use fiberglass insulation to wrap not only the pipes, but joints, as well; and eliminate drafts to crawl spaces.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

How to Pick Men's Formal Shoes

Instead of buying them, you may choose to rent men's formal shoes for an elegant evening affair. Visit a reputable tuxedo or ...

Discover More

Saving Money on Gardening Supplies

Be creative in your ways to find free or inexpensive gardening supplies. You'll be amazed at what you can find for little or ...

Discover More

Picking the Right Eyeliner

Just as with the rest of your makeup—foundation, eye shadow, blush, and lipstick—choosing the correct eyeliner is ...

Discover More

Cordless, Compact, and Powerful! DeWalt's 18-volt drill-driver kit packs a big punch in a small package, with a powerful high-performance motor tucked away inside a compact design. A great addition to the tool chest of any professional or DIYer! Check out DeWalt 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit today!

MORE HOME IMPROVEMENT TIPS

Using a Hand Auger

If you have a particularly nasty clog in your drain, then you may want to consider using a hand auger. Hand augers (or snakes ...

Discover More

Maintaining Your Septic Tank

Septic tanks are a fairly common piece of household equipment that need regular and steady maintenance. If they aren't ...

Discover More

Locating the Water Shutoff Valve in Your Home

Whether you plan on doing some home plumbing repairs or not, there is one thing that every homeowner should know about their ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three minus 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

Links and Sharing
Share