How to prevent your pipes from freezing when you have no heat

Winter weather is right around the corner, and when subzero temperatures set in, making sure your pipes don’t freeze can be super important, especially if the wintry weather involves power outages and no heat. Loss of heat can cause frozen pipes, which in turn, can cause all kinds of issues, from cutting off your water supply, to bursting and water damage. Luckily, there are ways to prevent that from happening.

How to prevent your pipes from freezing when you have no heat

If you’re worried about your pipes freezing, especially if you have no heat, you can turn off the main water valve coming into your home. Then, you’ll want to run the water, and make sure all of the pipes are empty. Flush all of the toilets in the house. From there, use denatured alcohol, and pour it into the toilets and sinks in our home, to keep the water in the traps from freezing. Make sure not to use antifreeze, as it can contaminate drinking water. 

If it’s going to get really cold, and you have a boiler, turn it off, and empty the water in it through the valves. Make sure it has water in it before you start it back up. 

Set the Temperature

If you have a guest or pool house, make sure the thermostat is set to 65 degrees. This should prevent the pipes from freezing in those outbuildings. 

Insulate Your Pipes

External walls in your home get much colder during the winter than internal walls. If you have plumbing running through the external walls of your home, you’ll want to make sure the walls are insulated. This will make sure that your pipes are protected from the cold weather. If you start seeing moisture, mold, or the walls feel cold to the touch, you may want to consider bolstering the insulation. Spray-foam insulation can provide added protection. 

Use Snap-on Insulation

If you have piping that goes through uninsulated and unheated areas of your home, like crawl spaces or attics, you’ll want to consider snap-on insulation to keep those pipes protected. Heated plumbing tape can also be used, as it’s activated by cold weather. 

Smart Tech Can Help

Installing smart technology, like “smart home” thermostats and low-temperature sensors can help keep your pipes running during cold spells. Permanent back-up generators are also a smart idea, especially when the power goes out. 

Disconnect Outside Hoses

Frozen water in a hose can increase pressure on a home’s pipes, if it’s connected to an outside spigot. That’s why it’s important to disconnect hoses before the cold weather sets in.  You’ll also want to turn off water to the spigots, and use a faucet insulator on them, in order to keep them in good working condition. 

If the pipes do freeze, there are steps you can take to remedy the problem. First, keep your faucets open. As the frozen area begins to melt, water will run through the pipes, helping to melt the ice. Using an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater, towels wrapped in hot water, or an electric heating pad, apply heat  to the pipe where it appears to be frozen. Be careful doing this, and don’t use propane or gas heaters, blow torches, or charcoal stoves. They’re all a serious fire hazard.

We’re the cold weather experts in the Schererville, IN, area. If you have questions about how to keep your pipes from freezing, or any other plumbing questions for that matter, feel free to reach out to Reichelt Plumbing. Schedule an appointment today at [phone].

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