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How to Avoid Frozen Pipes

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in DIY, Resources, Variety

Having a leak is bad enough, but finding that your water isn’t running at all due to frozen pipes can be worse. Not only does it mean no water, ice will expand in the pipes and a solid freeze can burst pipes, pop seams and do serious damage to the interior systems of appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. If your house is prone to having pipes freeze in the winter, you can either call a professional (like the Plumbing Detectives, busy plumbers in Lane Cove) or handle it on your own. Here’s what you can do:


The easiest approach is to wrap all your pipes with insulation. While this doesn’t actually warm anything up, the insulation layer will keep the cold out. Anything can be used (even old towels in a pinch) but proper foam pipe insulation will work better. It comes in various diameters of tubing, and can just slip over the pipes without any tools. Add some tape to seal up the seams and you’ve got insulated pipes.

An extra precaution is to run very hot water through the pipes before going to bed. The insulation will hold on to the heat for a while, adding to the overnight protection.



When the temperatures are very low, insulation alone isn’t going to do it. You need to look at adding more heat to the situation as well. Depending on where the pipes are located, you may have a few options for getting this done.

If you’re dealing with exposed pipes in an enclosed area, like under kitchen cabinets or even a basement crawl space, you may simply plug in a space heater to keep the overall temperature above freezing.

In spots where this won’t work, you can get more targeted heat by using heat tape that wraps directly around the pipes themselves. This is better for pipes that are not really out in the open, like in the walls or the floor (providing you can access them at all). You do need to have access to a power outlet though because these products will need to be plugged in.


If all else fails, you may need to consider rerouting the pipes entirely. Poorly insulated sections of unused basements or exterior walls can be bad places for plumbing and there is little you can do to keep things warm enough to stay fluid. In that case, you should think about changing where the pipes are situated. Can they run under the floor instead of along that outside wall? Can they be moved a foot or two to one side so they stay in the heater portion of the basement?

If a warmer route can be established, you may need a plumber to do the actual work though a little bit of DIY effort may do the trick if you are familiar with pipes and fixtures.

Keep It Running

This is really only a temporary solution that you can use in an emergency when you need to protect your plumbing and don’t have time for any further work. Leave the tap running at a drip or slight trickle through the night. It will use a lot of water but the constant motion can prevent freezing.

Hopefully, at least one of these ideas will help keep your pipes protected to cold winter weather.

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