Updated February 12, 2024
While you can’t control the weather in Des Moines, you can help protect your pipes from freezing when it’s cold. There are several things that you can do to reduce the risk of freezing so that you don’t have to deal with a plumbing emergency, like a pipe bursting. Here are some tips that can prevent frozen pipes in your home.
Seal Air Leaks
Any drafts of cold air can cause your pipes to freeze. If there are any air leaks around your home, seal them so that your pipes don’t have exposure to frigid temperatures. Check your windows and doors to see if cold air is getting in when you close them. You should also check your foundation and walls for any drafts. Caulking, insulation, and weatherstripping are ideal for sealing these air leaks. For cracks or gaps that are bigger, the foam insulation that expands is a good choice for closing off these cold air entry points.
Insulate Exposed Pipes
One of the best ways to protect your pipes is to ensure that they have adequate insulation. This is especially important for pipes that are exposed to extreme cold as the insulation allows them to retain heat. There is insulation material specifically for pipes, and they come in different materials, such as fiberglass and foam. Focus on areas that don’t have heat, such as basements, attics, and crawlspaces. Make sure to insulate the cold and hot water pipes.
Drip Your Faucets
Pressure inside your pipes can increase the risk of them freezing, but if you allow them to drip, this can alleviate the pressure. You only need a slight drip for this to be effective. Ideally, when the night temperatures get below freezing, this is a method you want to implement. Make sure that you are dripping water from both the cold and hot water faucets.
Maintain Consistent Indoor Temperatures
When the weather is especially cold, you need to keep your home at a consistent temperature. Even if you are away from home for a few days, keep a consistent temperature so that your pipes don’t freeze when you’re away. You want your thermostat at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also a good idea to open up your cabinet doors so that the heat in the rooms can reach your pipes.
Basement and Attic Insulation
The pipes in your basement or attic tend to be more prone to freezing because people usually don’t have heat going to these areas. Insulating these spaces will keep them warmer. This not only protects your pipes, but it can also help to keep the rest of your home warmer.
In addition to insulating these areas, inspect them for any gaps that cold air can penetrate. In the attic, pay special attention to the beams in the ceiling. If you see any light coming through, seal these areas to create a warmer attic.
Heat tape helps provide heat to your pipes so that they are less likely to freeze. Professionals will usually use a candy cane pattern to ensure full protection of your pipe. You can use heat tape on all of your pipes, but it’s most important for your pipes exposed to the cold and those located on exterior walls. There will be manufacturer’s instructions that you must follow to get the most benefit from the tape. Some heat tapes come with thermostatic control. This allows the tape to turn the heat on when it gets cold enough for pipes to freeze.
Pipe Heating Cable
This is a type of cable that you wrap around your pipes to help prevent them from freezing. They give controlled heat so that the pipes don’t get overly hot. Be sure to consider the length and diameter of your pipes so that you choose the right size. The cable should cover the entire pipe because any sections exposed to cold temperatures could freeze. Ideally, you want a professional to install this cable because some installations can be complex. A proper connection and placement are essential to get the most benefit from heating cables.
Disconnect Your Outdoor Hoses
Outdoor hoses have full exposure to freezing temperatures, making them more prone to freezing and bursting. Disconnect your water hose and make sure to drain any excess water from the hose and faucet. Store the hose in a place where temperatures are stable. You might also consider installing a frost-free hose bib. These types of bibs work to prevent freezing by automatically draining water.
There is also an insulating foam or a faucet cover that you can use for your outdoor faucets. This gives them an extra layer of protection when the weather is freezing.
Thermostatic Mixing Valves
You can install these valves on your water heater to help regulate and control the water temperature to decrease the chances of freezing. Setting the temperature on your water heater to a higher temperature can also be beneficial when the weather drops to below freezing.
Close Crawlspace Vents
If you have a crawlspace, there are usually some vents that help to regulate the temperature when the weather is warm. However, once winter approaches, it’s best to close these vents. This will help to warm up the space so that any pipes in the area are less likely to freeze. You should also seal any other openings to further insulate the space against the cold.
Know the Shut-Off Valves
Should a pipe freeze, you want to turn off the water supply as soon as you notice it. This can prevent flooding in case the pipe bursts. Label the individual valves throughout your home so that you can quickly identify the valve that you need to turn off. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the main shut-off valve for your water just in case you need to turn this off, too.
Call a Professional
If you need to repair your pipes or install anything to prevent your pipes from freezing before winter hits, call our professional plumbers. This will ensure that you do everything properly so that you get the most protection. They can also make additional recommendations to reduce the risk of frozen pipes. This time of year is also an ideal time to schedule annual plumbing inspections and maintenance services.
Plumbing Professionals in Des Moines
Preventing your pipes from freezing is essential to keep your plumbing system in good condition in Des Moines, IA. Our team knows what it takes, and we can help you winterize your pipes and take the steps necessary to maintain them when the weather drops below freezing. We can also aid with your other plumbing needs as well as your heating, cooling, and electrical needs.
We are a family-owned business that provides honest services, high standards, and fast response times. Check out our reviews on Google to see what customers are saying about us.
When you need professional plumbers to protect your pipes, call Golden Rule in the greater Des Moines, IA metro area today.
If you found this post helpful, check out some other budget-saving tips: