When temperatures drop to below freezing in the winter, the cold combined with uninsulated pipes can spell disaster for your home. When water freezes inside a pipe it expands. The pressure can build to the point that pipe cracks. This can especially become a problem when the ice melts, and water pours out of your pipe. Frozen pipes can accumulate in a matter of minutes. Cold temperatures sneak in and wreak havoc on your fixtures, right under your nose. But is there anything you can actually do to prevent disaster?
There are a number of things that can be done. You've likely heard of the recommendation to leave your faucets dripping whenever temperatures drop into the danger zone. This is a really helpful trick, as any movement through the pipes, even just a trickle, will help stop the water from freezing and expanding in your pipes.
But if you want peace of mind, you've got to step things up a bit. And this easy hack will help. It is recommended by the Red Cross as a way to prevent a frozen disaster! And it takes just two steps:
1. Make sure that you set your thermostat high enough to keep the interior of your home warm. The best bet would be to set it to no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Open any cabinets covering pipes, particularly those running to your kitchen and bathroom faucets.
3. Do this any time you won't be using the pipes for a while, such as overnight, or while you will be away.
That's it! This works because leaving the cabinets open will allow the warm air in your home to circulate around the pipes. And simple hacks like this will generally keep your pipes safe. If you want to go an extra step further, you can add a little more insulating to your pipes.
Simply head to a hardware store and look for pipe sleeves, heat tape, or a heat cable. All of these supplies wrap around your pipes, providing additional protection from the cold. You can also wrap them in 1/4 inch of newspaper and tape it down.