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How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Posted on: February 26, 2018

With the often harsh winters in the New Holland area, frozen pipes are always a concern. The problem can range from inconvenient—forcing you to wait until they thaw to make coffee or take a shower—to a major disaster, with burst pipes, flooding, and structural damage. In the latter scenario, the damage can be quite costly, but with the right preparations, you may be able to prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Typically, pipes that are located in exterior walls, in unconditioned areas like a crawlspace or attic, or outside your home are the most likely to freeze. Here are a few tips that can help to prevent frozen pipes:

  • Install pipe insulation – Pipes in unconditioned areas or outdoors must be insulated properly. At the very least, they should have foam-rubber pipe-wrap installed, which is flexible, easy to install, and available in multiple sizes. Simply cut the insulation to length and slide it over the pipe using the built-in slit. Use electrical tape to secure it and use double layers over elbows, valves, and other fittings. For extra protection, fiberglass insulation can be cut to size and installed over the pipe wrap, securing it with duct tape.
  • Let faucets drip – On extremely cold nights, open the cold water faucets in your home slightly, allowing them to drip. When the water is moving, it will be less likely to freeze.
  • Open cabinet doors – Open the doors on cabinets with sinks or other plumbing, allowing heat from the home to reach the exterior wall and the plumbing it contains.
  • Keep the heat on – If you typically turn down the heat at night, leave it at the normal setting when freezing weather is expected. If you are going on vacation or the home will be empty for a while, leave the heat at at least 55 degrees to prevent freezing.
  • Seal air gaps – If there are gaps in the exterior walls where pipes enter or near the internal plumbing, seal them with caulk or expanding foam to keep cold air out. If your walls lack proper insulation, consider having it installed or upgraded to prevent freezing.
  • Keep the garage door closed – Keep the garage closed during the winter, especially if it contains plumbing components or it adjoins the kitchen or other rooms with plumbing.
  • Use pipe tape – Pipe tape is an electric heat strip that can be installed on plumbing beneath the insulation to warm the pipe and keep it from freezing. It should only be used on outdoor pipes when absolutely necessary, as it can pose a fire risk. For a long-term solution, the pipes should be insulated better or a professional should improve the system to prevent freezing.

If your pipes do freeze, it is best to call a professional to thaw them properly and inspect the plumbing system for damage.

Pipe Repair in the Lancaster & New Holland, PA Areas

If you have frozen or burst pipes, our team at The Witmer Company can help. We offer pipe repair, pipe replacement, and a full selection of other plumbing and drain services throughout the New Holland area. Our licensed, professional plumbers can thaw frozen pipes, inspect your plumbing system, and repair or replace any damaged pipes, valves, or fittings. We also offer 24-hour emergency service for major problems like burst pipes that happen after business hours.

Contact us today at (717) 288-7163 for fast, affordable pipe repairs anywhere in the New Holland area.

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