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Strategies for Preventing Basement and Attic Pipes From Freezing

When the weather gets cold, water pipes in certain areas of the home are more prone to freezing than others. In particular, pipes that run across the basement or the attic can be subjected to very low temperatures, causing the water inside to become frozen. Frozen pipes are highly likely to burst and leak the water contained therein. They can also fall out of place and result in more significant plumbing issues for the home.

Freezing pipes happen because basements and attics tend to be poorly insulated against cold. In addition, most HVAC systems don't have vents or ducts that can channel warm air into the space.

Here are several strategies that you can use to prevent your pipes from freezing when temperatures fall below zero degrees Celsius.

Keep the home adequately heated

During winter months, the temperature of the home should not fall too low. This is particularly true if your basement and/or attic are secluded from the main area of the home.

You should keep doors that lead to these areas open when the heat is on. This ensures that the pipes running through attics and basements don't end up freezing. If you have a poorly insulated basement/attic, you can use a space heater to warm up these areas during cold weather.

Ensure a steady water flow

Another strategy is to keep water slightly dripping from faucets that are connected to pipes that are prone to freezing. By maintaining a slow but steady flow of water, the water is less likely to freeze.

This strategy also prevents pipes from bursting because there will be no undue pressure on the plumbing system if water is constantly flowing.

Is the home properly insulated?

A more permanent solution towards addressing regularly freezing pipes is to add insulation to strategic areas along the attic and basement. The pipes can be insulated with fibreglass sleeves or foam padding that prevents water from getting below its freezing point.

If the pipe itself is difficult to access, the basement and attic walls/ceilings can be checked for leaking air and insulated to provide for a warmer interior space.

Keep the thermostat at a steady temperature

To prevent freezing pipes, it is advisable to set your thermostat at a steady temperature during most days. Constantly fluctuating the temperature of indoor air can cause sudden dips in warmth.

It is better (and cheaper) to maintain the home at a fixed temperature so as to ensure consistency and a stable water temperature in the pipes.

Contact a plumber for additional advice.