ERM Plumbing & Heating

October 6, 2023

How to prevent your pipes from freezing

As winter's icy grip tightens, safeguarding your plumbing from the perils of freezing temperatures becomes paramount. The frigid weather can wreak havoc on your pipes, potentially leading to costly repairs. ERM Plumbing & Heating is here to help  explore effective strategies to shield your pipes from the bitter cold. From insulating vulnerable pipes in attics, basements, and exterior walls to the use of heat tape and the simple but effective practice of allowing faucets to drip during extreme cold snaps, we'll cover everything you need to know. 

How do you keep your pipes from freezing?

As the winter chill sets in, protecting your pipes from freezing becomes a priority. Here are some effective strategies to keep your plumbing intact:

  • Insulation: Insulating exposed pipes is a fundamental step in preventing freezing. Focus on pipes in attics, basements, crawl spaces, and exterior walls. Pipe insulation sleeves or wrapping them with heat tape can provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Heat tape: Heat tape or heating cables are excellent tools to ward off freezing. These electrical devices produce controlled heat that can be applied directly to pipes, helping to maintain a consistent temperature even in the coldest conditions.
  • Faucet drips: Allowing faucets to drip slightly during extreme cold spells can prevent freezing. The constant flow of water, even if minimal, reduces the likelihood of water stagnating in the pipes and freezing.

What temperature do pipes freeze in a house?

The freezing point for pipes is around 0°C. When the temperature drops below this threshold, the water within the pipes begins to freeze, leading to potential issues like pipe expansion and bursts. Monitoring the temperature and taking preventative measures when it gets close to freezing is essential to avoid costly damage.

Will shutting off water keep pipes from freezing?

While shutting off the water supply can be a part of your freezing prevention strategy, it's not a foolproof solution on its own. If you choose to shut off the water, it's crucial to drain the pipes afterward. Leftover water can still freeze and cause damage. Combine this step with insulation and other preventative measures for a comprehensive approach.

Which house pipes are most likely to freeze?

Certain pipes are more vulnerable to freezing due to their location and exposure:

  • Unheated areas: Pipes in unheated spaces like garages, attics, and crawl spaces are at higher risk.
  • Exterior walls: Pipes located near exterior walls have less insulation against the cold, making them susceptible to freezing.
  • Lack of insulation: Pipes lacking proper insulation are naturally more prone to freezing, regardless of their location.

What temperature should I keep in my house so pipes don't freeze?

Maintaining an indoor temperature of at least 13°C is recommended to prevent pipes from freezing. This temperature threshold provides a buffer against the freezing point and ensures that your pipes stay above the critical temperature range. Additionally, keeping cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes can offer extra protection.

Preventing pipes from freezing requires a combination of insulation, heat tape, and mindful temperature control. By taking these proactive steps, you can safeguard your plumbing system and avoid the headaches and expenses associated with burst pipes. As winter draws near, ensure the safeguarding of your home's critical infrastructure. Reach out to ERM Plumbing & Heating for expert care of your home plumbing and heating system. 

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