Frozen Pipes: Protecting Your Home Before & After A Freeze

Jan 20, 2022Preventing Water Damage

If your plumbing isn’t protected and winterized, you could be one cold snap away from having major water damage and potential flooding in your home. Frozen pipes are a serious concern for any homeowner who lives in a temperate or cold climate zone. However, one constant that remains true across the US is that it only takes a day or two of sub-freezing temperatures to risk a plumbing disaster, so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to home preparation.


Winterize Your Plumbing Before the Freeze


Basic winterization may require some time and money up front, but it’s not something you need to repeat every year. Once you properly protect and insulate your piping, it should last for more than a few years depending on the materials used.


Insulate Exterior Pipe Hookups


Ideally, all exposed pipes should be protected with an insulation sleeve. This is particularly important for lines running in peripheral areas such as those connecting to outdoor fixtures, like a hose hookup or sprinkler system. Pipe insulation doesn’t require much maintenance or replacement if installed properly, so it’s well worth the investment to avoid costly repairs in the long run.


Seal and Insulate Spaces


Service closets along the exterior and crawl spaces should be professionally sealed and insulated if there are any pipes running through them. The likelihood of frozen pipes in these areas are more prevalent during a serious cold front, and because they’re typically less frequented, it’s common for leaks to go unchecked for long periods of time.


Clear External Pipes and Fixtures


Many homeowners make the mistake of leaving their external fixtures active over the winter months. When you disconnect the hose for the season, you should also clear and close the lines leading to the fixture. Disable the flow from the internal shut-off valve, then open the faucet and allow it to drain completely before closing it again.


During the Freeze: Preventing and Managing Frozen Pipes


Even if your system is properly protected and prepared for the winter season, frozen pipes are pipes still possible under harsh circumstances. That’s why you should take additional steps to protect your home from leaks and know what to do if your pipes do bust during the winter.


Keep the Heat On


Turning off your heat when you leave for a winter vacation is an easy mistake to make. Even if there are no pets or people in the house, your pipes still need that warmth to keep the residual water inside of them from freezing. It’s fine to turn the heat down when you leave for a prolonged period, but it should be set no lower than 50 degrees. You should also open the cabinet doors under sinks located along exterior walls to let the inside warmth help regulate the temperature around your plumbing. 


Check Your Pipes


If you are experiencing a serious cold snap, especially in regions where they aren’t common, you should take an active role in monitoring your home’s plumbing. Inspect every part of your home, including crawl spaces, a couple of times a day to make sure the pipes aren’t freezing. Any amount of frost buildup or ice on the outside of the pipes is a serious warning sign.


You should also check the house for other signs of a busted pipe. Listen carefully for “water noises,” like dripping or rustling in the floors or walls, and test all the fixtures for consistent water pressure.


Respond to an Active Leak


When faced with a leaking pipe, panic may be your gut reaction, especially when it’s a bad one. However, a little bit of mental preparation goes a long way. How you first respond to a leak determines how bad it will be. If you know what to do, you can take control of the situation to ensure it doesn’t escalate.


As a homeowner, you should already know the location of your home’s main and secondary shut-off valves. If you don’t, then make it your mission to find out immediately. You’ll be glad that you did in the event that you need to do an emergency shut-off following a leak. You should also have the contact information for reliable emergency water damage and restoration experts at your fingertips, like Continuum Restoration.


When confronted with a leak, immediately turn off the water supply by closing the valves. After addressing the source of the flow, you can try to salvage any personal belongings in the flooded area by moving it to a dry location and running fans to air out any soiled carpeting or furniture. Once the important stuff is out of immediate danger, it’s time to call your professional contacts for help.


Assess, Repair and Restore with Continuum


Dealing with water damage emergencies is our business, so you can trust our team to respond to your needs quickly, effectively and professionally. If you are dealing with a busted pipe in your home, you can contact Continuum Restoration 24/7 to start your assessment and repair process as soon as possible.


You don’t need to wait for a reply from your insurance adjuster to get a water damage assessment from our team. In fact, we specialize in helping our customers with their claims process and communicating with insurance providers to ensure all concerns are addressed and all paperwork is handled promptly so repairs can quickly begin. 


Contact us today to learn more about our advanced restoration services for both residential and commercial properties.