Here’s what you should know about pipes in the winter: water expands when it freezes. And that means the water in your pipes, which can freeze when temperatures plunge, may expand within the pipes—causing the pipe to expand as well. And since the pipes were made to contain a set volume of water, this is when pipes become likely to burst.
A burst pipe is something that no homeowner wants to deal with. They also don’t want to deal with the lack of water pressure that results from a set of frozen pipes. Learn how to prevent pipes from freezing where it matters the most in our helpful guide.
Protect Your Pipes from Freezing
Our major piece of advice is that you do whatever you can to make sure your pipes are able to retain warmth. And there are a few different ways to do this.
- Open all the doors and the cupboards. On very cold days, do everything you can to make sure heat is circulating throughout the house. This is especially important for homeowners who leave for vacation and leave the heat in the house on low. You want to make sure the heat will reach the various pipes around the home, which is why you should open cupboards leading to exposed piping underneath the sink.
- Insulating exposed pipes helps them to retain heat, reducing the possibility of heat transfer out of the pipes. Pipe sleeves, heat tape, and heat cable designed specifically for this purpose are your best options.
- Drain outdoor faucets. Before the winter hits, shut off the water to the outdoor faucets. Remove hoses and other attachments and see that these are drained. Open the outdoor faucets and let water drip out completely, then leave it open. Call a plumber if you need help winterizing an irrigation system.
- Let your faucets drip. This keeps pipes that are on the verge of freezing from doing so. If the dripping annoys you, try tying a string around the faucet, so that the water drips down that instead.