Preventing Frozen Water Lines

Frozen water pipe during winter

Water is one of the few materials that actually becomes less dense as it becomes a solid. It’s for this reason that water expands, the colder it gets. While this is fascinating to some, it doesn’t bode well for plumbing systems, which are carefully designed to manage water flow. When water sits in a water line as it freezes, it can cause a tremendous amount of damage to not only your entire plumbing system, but the rest of your home, as well. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of how you can prevent water lines from freezing in your own home.

Use heater tape

First of all, water is never going to freeze in a water line if you keep the pipes warm. There are a variety of ways that you can do this, but the simplest is to use heater tape from your local department store, and then wrapping it around water lines. Heater tape is designed to withstand the extreme heat for when pipes run hot water, and are able to keep colder temperatures out.

Insulate risky pipes

Sometimes, you’re going to have sections of pipe that are more exposed than others. This is especially true if you have something like an unfinished basement. It’s worth it to take more caution with these pipes and wrap them in foam insulation, which is more powerful than heater tape. This sort of blanket method will keep the pipes from getting cold.

Install a thermal recirculation valve

Buying a special type of thermal recirculation valve allows your plumbing system to sustain a steady stream of warm water. This method pretty much guarantees that water will never freeze in the water line. However, it can also be a bit more of an expensive option, as it will increase your energy bill to sustain all that warm water.

Drain water lines

There are going to be certain water lines that you don’t use during the colder months. For example, few people are using their garden hoses or sprinkling systems when there is a blanket of snow on the ground. Because of this, it’s a good idea to drain these water lines and shut off all valves that flow water to them, so that nothing is sitting frozen throughout winter.