ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Most Cost Effective Way to Preventing Water Pipes from Freezing in Winter When You Build Your House

Updated on December 28, 2012

Winterizing Your Plumbing

With the cold weather and freeze warnings this year, its important to “winter-ize” your plumbing to make sure that it can handle the temperature changes and freezing conditions outside. As we all learned in elementary school, water freezes at 32°F, so when the temperature drops down to this, or below, then the water inside of your plumbing can freeze. It is important to not let it freeze, because as the water inside freezes, it expands, and causes the pipe to burst. Pipes that have water running through them constantly are less prone to freezing, except in extremely cold situations. Here, you will be given tips on how to prevent your pipes from freezing, what to do if they freeze, and other useful tips and info. If you do have a pipe that freezes, and bursts, make sure to turn off all the water to the pipe so it will stop leaking, and call your local plumber to come and replace the piping.

Frozen Pipes:

If you turn on the knob to your water on a cold day, and all you get is nothing, then you possibly have a frozen pipe. Even if the pipe is frozen, it is still possible to warm the pipe before it bursts if you catch it soon enough. Allowing the water to trickle from outside faucets is one of the more effective ways to keep your pipes from freezing, although not the most conservative or cost efficient. Using small space heaters for exposed pipes also works quite well, especially for applications inside of workshops or sheds that don’t have a heating system. Wrapping exposed pipes in newspapers, insulating foam, heating wires, or buying covers for exposed faucets are all also effective ways to prevent any outside pipes from bursting.

Thawing a Frozen Pipe

If you do discover that you have a frozen pipe, immediately shut off the water at the main valve. Open the faucet closet to the frozen spot so that is can drain. If indoors, waterproofing the area should be done in case of leaks. On metal pipes, use a small propane torch with a flame spreading nozzle, and warm the pipe slowly and evenly. This should melt all the ice inside and allow the water to flow. You don’t want to burn through the pipe, just heat it up. Shield flammable items (such as any insulation) with flame resistant material to prevent it from being set on fire. If no other method is available, wrap the pipe with rags and pour extremely hot/boiling water over it, and this should heat up the pipe. This method is not recommended for plastic PVC piping. If you don’t have a torch, or have plastic PVC piping that is frozen, a hair dryer set on high will generally work well, but wont be very quick. Heating pads and heating lamps will also work on both metal and plastic PVC, but like the hair dryer, are slow.

To Completely Winterize Your System

If you are leaving during the winter months of the year, or you own a house or property that is vacant, and want to completely winterize your plumbing system, then this is for you. Turn off the water at the main valve so that water is no longer coming into your home. Open all the faucets, starting at the top floor, and work your way down, inside and out. When all the water has drained out of the system, open the plug at the water main. Turn off the power and/or gas to your water heater (unless you have a inline water heater system), and pull the plug to drain. Remember to empty and drain all toilet bowls and tanks as well. Drain all sink traps, and remove if necessary. Replace and fill with plumbing antifreeze (check the bottle for usage instructions). Make sure to add at least a quart of antifreeze mixture to your bathtub and any other inaccessible drain, so that the water in those traps doesn’t freeze as well. Do not use antifreeze in dishwashers or clothes washers. Basement floor drains and main house lines all should use maximum strength antifreeze applications.


Submit a Comment
  • eugbug profile image

    Eugene Brennan 

    4 years ago from Ireland

    Sensible advice! It's a good idea also to leave the door open to the loft space to help prevent water pipes and tank from freezing.

    Voted up!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)