Pipe Freezing Repair in Philadelphia, PA
How Cold Does It Have To Be for Pipes To Freeze?
Although water freezes at 32° F, it usually needs to be at least 20° F before your pipes freeze. Windchill also plays a factor, which can cause the temperature to suddenly drop by ten or twenty degrees.
This is most common along outside walls or if you have cracks or gaps in your foundation. Since you can’t control the temperature outside, focus on how cold it is inside your home.
What Pipes Are Most Likely To Freeze?
Any pipe can freeze if it gets cold enough. However, the location of some pipes makes them more likely to freeze. Here are the pipes that are most likely to freeze:
What Is the Minimum Temperature To Keep Pipes From Freezing?
The minimum temperature to keep pipes from freezing is 55° F. However, between 60° F and 68° F is a safer range. This way the air around your pipes is warm enough to keep them from freezing. If you live in a warmer climate, you should keep your above 68° because your pipes are not insulated against the freezing cold.
Insulate Your Pipes
The best way to keep your pipes from freezing is to wrap them in foam sheath insulation. Cover any visible water pipes, especially in garages, basements, and along outside walls. You can get this in both rolls and pre-cut sections at most home improvement stores for around 50¢ per foot.
If you cannot see your pipes, you may need whole-house insulation instead. Not only does this keep out cold air during the winter, but it will keep your home cooler in the summer too.
If you have a water spigot outside your home, you should shut it off and drain the water. Most spigots have a shut-off valve inside your home, so look in your basement or utility room.
Once the water is off, turn on the spigot to drain the pipe. For added protection, install a foam insulation cover over the faucet to block out cold air as well.
Do the same if you have an in-ground sprinkler system. Turn off the water and then run your sprinklers until the water stops. If you have the system on a timer, remember to shut that off too.
Another way to keep pipes from freezing is to keep your garage door closed. This is especially important at night when it is the coldest time. You should also add insulation to the door itself to keep your garage warmer.
If the weather is extremely cold, you also need to heat your garage. Avoid using propane burners, as they create toxic gases that can suffocate you. It’s much safer to use electric heaters. Point the heater towards walls with water pipes in them to keep them from freezing.
Open Under-Sink Cabinets
Cabinets below sinks are another place where pipes can freeze, especially when they are on an outside wall. Even in heated rooms, the cabinet doors will hold in cold air and block out the heat.
Opening the cabinet doors will help warm air circulate and keep the pipes from freezing. You should open our cabinets any time it’s extremely cold, but it’s especially important at night when temperatures are the lowest.
If it’s colder than 0° F out, you should use a space heater as well. Keep the heater four to five feet away and direct the airflow inside the cabinet.
Another way to keep pipes from freezing is to leave your faucets running. Even just a slow trickle is enough to keep them from freezing.
While you can do this at any time, you should run your faucets when it’s colder than 0° F outside. Also, hot water pipes are just as likely to freeze as cold water lines.
If your faucet has two handles, make sure that you open them both. For single-handle faucets, set it to the center so both hot and cold water flow.
If you are going on vacation, you should plan for cold weather even if it isn’t in the forecast. Before you leave, set your thermostat between 64° F and 68° F and open up under-sink cabinets.
You should ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to check on your home, too. Have them walk through your home at least once a day or even have them stay overnight to keep your pipes from freezing.