With the cold weather settling in, many homeowners are facing the risk of broken pipes. Poorly insulated pipes located in colder areas of our houses can freeze, causing the water inside to expand and potentially break the pipe. When the ice thaws, the resulting water can spill out and cause extensive damage, which can be quite expensive to fix. It is estimated that about one in 60 insured homes file claims for water damage and freezing annually.

Preventing the mess from happening is ideal as it can prevent a lot of hassle and save us over $1,000 in repair costs. Although there are no guarantees, we can take some simple steps during the winter, especially during severe cold snaps, to ensure that we and our homes stay warm and dry throughout the season.

Cover exposed pipes

To avoid water supply pipes from freezing and bursting, it is recommended to cover them with insulation especially if they are located along exterior walls or in unheated areas like basements or attics. This can be achieved easily and inexpensively by purchasing materials such as foam or fiberglass insulation from a local hardware store. In some cases where freezing temperatures occur only occasionally, newspapers can also be used to cover exposed pipes. Doing so can help prevent expensive damages caused by burst pipes.

Insulate unheated areas

When plumbing runs through unheated areas such as attics, basements, crawl spaces or garages, the pipes are at a higher risk of freezing and bursting. By adding insulation to these areas, the pipes can be kept warm and protected from potential damage. Additionally, a well-insulated home is more energy-efficient and can save on heating bills during winter. Insulation can be added as a DIY project, or a professional can be hired to complete the job. Overall, insulating unheated areas is a cost-effective and energy-efficient way to ensure the safety of pipes and maintain a comfortable temperature in the home.

Keep the Cabinet and Bathroom doors open

To prevent pipes from bursting, it is recommended to open the cabinet doors under bathroom and kitchen sinks. This simple action allows the heated air from inside the house to circulate beneath the cabinets, thereby warming up the pipes. This step is especially crucial for sinks located along exterior walls, as these areas are more susceptible to freezing due to their proximity to the cold outdoor environment. By opening cabinet doors, the pipes are less likely to freeze and result in expensive damages.

Keep the Tap Running

Running a tap is a simple yet effective method to prevent frozen pipes. It is not necessary to run the tap at full blast; a slow drip is sufficient. The faucet that is the farthest from the water source should be chosen for best results. This will cause water to run through a significant part of the plumbing system, keeping it active and preventing freezing. In addition, if any taps are connected to exposed pipes, it is recommended to keep them trickling to avoid freezing.