Avoid Burst Pipes this Winter

Cold winter weather has the potential to freeze pipes in your home. At a minimum, this will disrupt your water supply. Plastic or metal pipes could also burst and cause costly damage. Indiana Public Media reported that this happened in a number of buildings during January 2014; a Bloomington homeowner’s ceiling collapsed after pipes ruptured in the attic. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent such disasters.


Consider adding more insulation to your home’s walls. Focus on cold places that contain pipes, such as the basement, crawlspace and attic. You can cut foam boards or fiberglass insulation with a utility knife. These products deliver the best results when homeowners also seal cracks and drafty windows with caulk. For even greater protection, wrap moisture-resistant insulation around vulnerable pipes.


A dripping faucet can keep your pipes from freezing overnight. If the outdoor temperature drops near or below zero, open a tap on each story. Prioritize sinks with plumbing near outer walls. It’s worth paying slightly higher utility bills to prevent severe water damage. However, extra insulation will prevent waste and provide a more economical long-term solution.


If a sink has cabinet doors under it, open them during chilly weather. The same goes for any doors behind a shower stall or bathtub. This becomes particularly important when fixtures are located along a home’s outer walls. It helps expose the pipes to warmer air.

Heat Tape

When you’re concerned about a specific pipe, consider using a heat tape to keep it warm. Remember to carefully read the directions. Depending on the brand, you might need to attach a heating cable to the side of a pipe or wrap the tape around it. You may install some cables immediately; others require that you cut them and connect separate components.


A central heating system will keep most or all pipes warmer when you turn up the thermostat. The state government recommends setting it above 54 F at all times. If the system fails to heat a certain pipe, think about putting a space heater next to it. Select a model with a thermostat that you can set to a low temperature that’s just warm enough to function. This will help you avoid a high electric bill.

If a pipe bursts despite your best efforts, engage the main water shut-off valve as soon as possible. Don’t try to melt ice with open flames. Patch kits can help you temporarily fix a pipe until a professional conducts repairs. Remember that the water damage experts at Paul Davis know how to repair homes quickly and affordably. Please contact us today to learn more.