2 Ways To Protect Your Pipes From The Winter Cold

One of the biggest dangers to your pipes in the winter is the cold temperatures. Cold temperatures can cause your pipes to freeze and burst. Cold weather can cause damage to the seals and joints of your pipe, and cold weather can make your water cold than it needs to be as well. You can fight by against the cold weather by taking proactive steps to protect your pipes.

Insulate Your Pipes

Your first lines of defense against cold weather should be insulated pipes. All pipes that are located in areas that are not directly heated by your HVAC system, such as the crawl space under your garage, your attic, or your unfinished basement, should be insulated. It is also a good idea to insulate pipes that are in semi-heated areas, like your finished basement that you only heat up when you plan on using it or pipes located inside cabinets, where warm air is less likely to get. Insulating more instead of less of your pipes is a good thing, so when in doubt if you should insulate your pipes, always add the insulation! Adding the insulation will help keep your pipes warm and will help keep your water at the intended temperature.

Insulating pipes is a fairly easy process. You can purchase foam insulation covers that you just slip over your pipes and use electrical tape to hold the foam slits closed and in place. You can also use fiberglass and plastic insulation that you just wrap around the pipe. You can also combine multiple methods of insulation to really keep your pipes warm, which can be a good idea if you live somewhere that experiences a lot of days with temperatures below freezing.

Seal Up Rim Joists

The rim joists are the areas where your pipes extend through exterior walls. For example, the space where your pipes come down from your bathroom into your basement or crawl space is a rim joists. Sometimes these rim joists are within your home and sometime they extended to the outside of your home.

Filling in these rim joists, or holes, can help keep cold air from cooling down your pipes. The simplest way to fill in these holes is to use expandable foam. When you use expandable foam, be sure to wear gloves. Expandable foam can take weeks to get off of your body if it comes into contact with your skin. Also, when using expandable foam, keep in mind that it does in fact really expand, so only use a small amount, don't fill in the entire hole. Allow the foam to expand and settle, and then add additional foam if needed.

Insulating your pipes and sealing up the rim joists and holes are the two best ways to keep your pipes warm during the winter. If you live in a really cold area, you may also want to consider installing a heating cable next to your pipes. A heating cable functions on its own, turning on and off when your pipes need a little warmth to keep them from freezing up. 

Contact a plumber for more help.