How to Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter


As temperatures dip in Philadelphia, pipes begin freezing left and right. Though 32 degrees is the freezing point, pipes are insulated and can withstand typical winter temperatures in the 30s and 40s. But when the outdoor air plummets into the 20s or teens, this is when you need to be careful.

Ideally, protecting your home or business from freezing pipes is something to focus on in autumn. This way, when frigid weather arrives, you don’t need to scramble to get things ready.

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

The following steps will help you reduce the chances of having a frozen pipe this winter:

  • Seal cracks around your home to better insulate your pipes.
  • Buy heat tape or hire a plumber to install heat tape on your pipes.
  • Disconnect your hose to prevent it from freezing and breaking.
  • Keep your garage door closed in the winter.
  • Open doors to let heat spread evenly throughout your home.

If it’s extremely cold outside (eg. 15 degrees), you can leave one faucet in your home running low. This will keep water moving and prevent a freeze. However, this tactic shouldn’t be employed regularly as it will waste water and raise your utility bill.

How to Prevent a Pipe from Bursting

Burst pipes can cost you thousands of dollars in water damage, but they are difficult to predict. No one ever suspects their pipes are going to burst until it’s too late.

Insurance companies spend an average of $1.5 billion each year on burst pipe claims from homeowners and businesses. A Philadelphia insurance company examined several hundred pipe bursts and determined that unheated attics were the top cause. If you have an attic, it’s important to remember that there are pipes running through it, and they are at a much higher risk of freezing because the room isn’t heated.

While you might think that thawing a pipe yourself eliminates the risk of a pipe bursting, it can actually increase the risk – not to mention, risk your own physical safety. As you thaw a pipe, the water pressure builds as the ice melts into moving water. This doesn’t mean that all pipes will burst after freezing and thawing, but it is a possibility to be aware of.

There is no surefire way to make sure a frozen pipe doesn’t burst. However, be sure to:

  • Never use anything with an open flame to thaw a pipe.
  • Don’t do anything extreme to introduce heat – Thaw the pipe slowly.
  • Open cabinet doors so frozen pipes are exposed to your home’s warmth.

Get Help Winter Proofing Your Home

Frozen pipes are a huge inconvenience, and burst pipes can become an awful financial burden. If you’re looking to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter, our Philadelphia licensed plumbers can help you winter-proof your home or business.

In the event of a plumbing or heating emergency, Reliable Plumbing offers fast service and the lowest prices in town. Whether you’re in Philadelphia, Bucks, or Montgomery County, we’re here for you year-round.

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