9 Tips to Protect Your Home from Freezing Temperatures

Have you ever put a can of soda into the freezer, forgotten about it, and then opened the freezer later only to find a big mess?

Like that can of soda, when water freezes, it expands. Sustained low temperatures leave no time for your home’s water pipes to thaw out. Over time, if it expands enough, the pipe will burst causing water to escape and create serious water damage.

Winter inevitably means frozen pipes (and water leaks) throughout the Treasure Valley. With average Boise winter temperatures falling below freezing, you should know at least the basics to keep you home safe.

If you search the web, you’ll find there are millions of tips and tricks that all claim to prevent water damage, but that’s a long list. Our team of water damage experts here at UltraClean have put together a list of the nine most practical and proactive tips that we use in our own homes to get you ready for these freezing months.

9 Tips to Protect Your Home from Freezing Temperatures

  1. Disconnect your garden hose from you water spigot. Any water trapped inside the spigot will freeze and expand breaking the plumbing fixture or line. It typically will split further back from the shut off valve and will leak when you turn your spigot back on in the spring.
  2. Close your crawl space vents when the weather starts to cool off. This will stop any cold air flow from entering into your crawl space where most of your plumbing lines are located.
  3. Evaluate your crawlspace for exposed plumbing lines near foundation vents. If a plumbing line is close enough to a vent it is wise to put insulation behind that vent to prevent the cold temperature from reaching the pipe.
  4. Make sure your furnace is working properly. Your house temperatures will drop quickly if your furnace isn’t working, increasing your risk of frozen pipes. Most heating companies are extremely busy in the winter and will not be able to respond immediately to a broken furnace. If your furnace is working correctly then you can feel safe leaving your home during the day.
  5. Don’t leave your garage door up. Many of us are used to keeping our garage door open, however, this is where your hot water heater, well pump, and other plumbing and heating appliances are located.  An open door is an invitation for cold air to enter and freeze these more quickly.
  6. Evaluate the outside of your home to check for cold weather weakness areas. Make sure gutters are clean and pointed away from the foundation. If you have the chance to walk around your home while snow is melting or it’s raining, make sure the water is draining away from your home. Grading your landscaping away from the foundation will also help water drain correctly.
  7. Insulate your home in drafty areas. Add insulation to your attic and crawlspace, but make sure that any plumbing lines are between the home and the insulation. Too often we see people who have put insulation between their home and the plumbing line which prevents the house’s heat from keeping the plumbing lines from freezing. Use pipe wrap insulation for exposed pipes for additional coverage.
  8. Evaluate your doors and windows for heat loss. Weather stripping for a door or an additional window insulator kit will prevent drafts into your home. These are easy to use, and available at your local hardware store. As a quick alternative, you can also use a rolled up towel to prevent drafts.
  9. Call an expert to receive a full evaluation so all of the components and functions of your home can be winter ready.

In the event that this list is coming to you too late, and you’ve already suffered water damage from a busted pipe, UltraClean can help. Give us a call at (208) 887-4740. You can contact us for advice or service 24 hours a day, or send us an email.