How to Keep Pipes from Freezing in the Attic
As you get ready to wrap your pipes for winter, you may be wondering if pipes in your attic will also freeze. Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. Frozen pipes can result in serious damage to your home and plumbing system, not to mention inconvenience and frustration. In this blog post, we will explore why pipes freeze in the attic, how to prevent it, and what to do when it happens.
Why Do Pipes Freeze in the Attic?
The drop in temperature during the winter season sometimes causes pipes to freeze even in the attic. When the water inside your pipes freeze, it causes them to expand and potentially burst. The attic is particularly susceptible to freezing pipes because of the lack of heating.
In addition, the insultation in the attic is often poor compared to other areas of the house. This makes them especially prone to temperature fluctuations.
Another factor that can exacerbate the issue is the presence of air leaks in the attic. These leaks allow cold air to enter, posing a higher risk of pipe freezing. To prevent this, identify and seal any gaps, cracks, or holes where cold air might seep in.
The Consequences of Frozen Pipes in the Attic
Frozen pipes in the attic can have serious consequences for your home and plumbing system. When pipes freeze and expand, they can lead to cracks or bursts. Once the ice thaws, water leakage can occur, causing water damage to the property.
Frozen pipes can also disrupt your water flow and affect the volume of your water supply. When your water supply drops, it can damage your connected appliances and fixtures. Frozen pipes can also cause bacteria and mold to grow in the stagnant water, posing a health hazard. Save yourself time, money, and hassle by preventing your attic pipes from freezing and avoiding these problems.
How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in the Attic.
You can take several steps to prevent frozen pipes in the attic.
- Insulating exposed attic pipes. Insulating your attic pipes will keep them from freezing during the coldest months. You can install foam pipe insulation on exposed attic pipes. This type of insulation comes in sleeves that wrap around pipes to ensure they do not freeze.
- Installing heat tape. Heat tape wraps around pipes and provides a constant source of heat to prevent freezing. You can buy heat tape from hardware stores and follow the instructions to install it on your attic pipes. Make sure to follow all safety precautions and use heat tape approved for your specific type of pipes.
- Installing Pex piping. Pex piping is a type of plastic piping that is more resistant to freezing than metal pipes. Pex piping can expand and contract without cracking or bursting, making it ideal for cold climates.
You can replace your existing pipes with Pex piping or use it for new installations. If you decide to use Pex piping, be sure to insulate and protect it from rodents and UV rays.
- Improve your attic insulation. Another way to prevent pipes from freezing in the attic is to insulate the space under your roof. Your house will lose less heat and the temperature in your attic will be less likely to drop below freezing.
- Letting your taps drip. Running water, even in small amounts, can help prevent pipes from freezing. It relieves pressure and allows water to move through the pipes.
Let your taps drip slightly during the night or when you are away from home. This will prevent ice from forming and blocking the pipes.
What to Do if Pipes Freeze in the Attic
Don’t panic if you notice that your pipes have frozen in the attic. You have several options to try to thaw the pipes and restore your water flow.
Turn off the Water Main
The first thing you should do if you suspect frozen pipes is to turn off the main water supply to your house. This will prevent water from leaking out of the cracks or bursts and causing more damage. You can find the main water valve near your water meter or inside the meter box near the curb.
Locate the Frozen Section
Next, locate the frozen section of the pipe by checking for frost, ice, or bulges on the pipe surface. You can also feel the pipe with your hand and look for cold spots. The frozen section is usually near an exterior wall, window, or vent.
Thaw the Pipe
A Hair Dryer. A hair dryer is a safe and effective way to thaw a frozen pipe. Plug in the hair dryer and set it to low or medium heat. Then, move it back and forth along the pipe, starting from the faucet and working your way to the frozen section. Do not use a high heat setting or hold the hair dryer too close to the pipe, as this can damage the pipe or cause a fire.
A Heat Lamp or Space Heater. Another way to thaw a frozen pipe is to use a heat lamp or space heater. You can place the heat source near the pipe and let it warm up the area slowly. Make sure to keep the heat source at a safe distance from the pipe and any flammable materials. Do not leave the heat source unattended or use it overnight, as this can pose a fire hazard.
Hot Towels or Rags. You can also use hot towels or rags to thaw a frozen pipe. Simply soak the towels or rags in hot water and wrap them around the pipe. You can also pour hot water over the pipe or use a bucket or hose to spray hot water on the pipe. Be careful not to scald yourself or the pipe with the hot water.
Check for Leaks
After you have thawed the pipe, you should check for leaks. You can do this by turning on the main water supply and inspecting the pipe for any signs of water dripping or spraying. If you find any leaks, you should turn off the water supply again and call a plumber to repair the pipe. If you do not find any leaks, you can turn on the faucet and let the water run for a few minutes to flush out any air or debris.
Keep Your Attic Pipes from Freezing This Winter
Keeping pipes from freezing in the attic is vital for homeowners during the winter season. Frozen pipes cause significant damage and inconvenience. To prevent them is much more preferrable to having to deal with the repercussions. Follow these tips to keep your pipes from freezing in the attic and enjoy a warm and cozy winter.