Protect Pipes from Freezing in Frigid Weather


Whenever the temperature drops during frigid winter weather, there’s a possibility that the water in your pipes can freeze. Water expands as it freezes and the pressure it exerts can cause your pipes to burst. Here are a few tips on how to protect your pipes from your Roanoke plumbing experts at Southern Trust Home Services.

Sometimes, we take our warm climate for granted here in the South, so our homes aren’t proofed against cold weather. Sometimes pipes are located in unheated spaces like garages or attics. There may be cracks, crevices and other leaky spots around doors and windows that allow cold air to get in, especially if it’s windy. 

Your first step is to make sure that the cold can’t get to your pipes. Seal up the cracks. If your house is built on a crawl space, seal that too. Install pipe insulation on any pipes that may be exposed (as a bonus, if you also insulate your hot water pipes and save energy). Insulate your attic and crawl space to keep more warm air inside the house. If you have pipes in unheated areas where it is inevitable that they will be exposed to freezing temperatures, wrap those pipes in electrical heating tape. Heating tape comes in a variety of lengths and plugs into an electrical outlet.

Keep your garage door closed, especially if you have pipes in your garage. Moreover, leaving the door open makes it harder to heat the rest of the house. Let warm air circulate around the house and thereby around your pipes. Leave interior doors open so air circulates freely, and open cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathrooms to let warm air circulate around the pipes. 

Keep the temperature set at a consistent level. If you are going away, don’t turn the heat down below 55°F. If it’s that cold in your living room, it’s much colder in your basement or garage. When it gets really cold, let a trickle of water run from your faucets. Moving water is less susceptible to freezing.

If the worst happens, and your pipes freeze, Southern Trust can help. In the case of an emergency, if the pipe has burst, we can remove the damaged section of pipe and replace it.

If the pipe doesn’t appear to be damaged, you can try thawing it with a heating pad or a hair dryer. Never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame. Then you’ll be calling the fire department instead of your plumber. 

We’re here to help you get through the winter. Call us any time at (540) 343-4348 for all of your Roanoke plumbing needs.

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