Burst water pipes can damage your home. Learn how to prevent your pipes from freezing.
When pipes freeze they can burst, causing thousands of dollars in damage. You can prevent frozen pipes in your home with these steps.
In most homes, pipes are installed within the conditioned space, where the warmth of the house keeps the pipes from freezing if the thermostat is set no lower than 55u00b0F. But that doesn't mean your home is immune to freezing pipes.
Freezing most commonly occurs in outdoor spigots. In the winter, these should either be completely turned off and drained using a shut-off valve from the inside, or covered with an insulating cap from the outside. The best practice is to install freeze-proof spigots, which keep the valve well inside the conditioned space of the house.
If you have pipes installed in exterior walls, you may be able to keep them from freezing by opening cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate. You can also leave the tap dripping slightly, which keeps the water moving just enough to prevent freezing.
In attics where air flow is part of the design of the space or in particularly cold climates, pipe heating cable may be necessary. Wrap the heating element part of the cable around the pipe with the thermostat button against the pipe. Secure with zip ties and plug it in. When the temperature of the pipe drops close to freezing, the cable automatically turns on, warming the pipe. Once the temperature rises, the cable automatically turns off.
Taking these steps now will help you avoid a big headache from burst pipes later. It will also make your home a more comfortable and worry-free place to live.