Got Frozen Pipes? Learn How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing in Utah

May 04, 2023

As temperatures drop, you should prepare by winterizing your home. Frozen pipes are one of the most frustrating things that can happen to your home during the winter. To prevent your pipes from freezing, drip your faucet and maintain a warm temperature in your home and around your pipes. If you see signs of frost or that your pipes are frozen, keep your water dripping and try to safely heat the pipes. Do this until your water pressure returns to normal, or call a plumber if the issue persists after 2 hours.

Damage to your pipes is bad enough, but if your pipes burst, it can also result in significant damage to other parts of your home. People often don’t think about pipes freezing unless it happens to them or someone they know.

Learn how to keep your pipes from freezing and what to do if your pipes freeze in the cold Utah winters. Our guide will help you protect your exterior and interior pipes. Our tips range from minor DIY work to knowing when to call an expert to repair the damage.

Table of Contents

Frozen Pipes Cause Damage
How to Keep Pipes from Freezing: 14 Tips

1. Get Your Plumbing System Checked
2. Insulate Your Pipes
3. Add Heat Tape to Your Pipes
4. Watch Your Pipes Throughout Winter
5. Seal Leaks
6. Keep the Heat On
7. Keep Water Running
8. Shut Off the Water System
9. Detach Outdoor Faucets
10. Open Cabinets
11. Install and Use a Hot Water Recirculating Pump
12. Keep the Garage Door Closed
13. Use Space Heaters
14. Keep Your Gutters Clean & Clear Snow

What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

Examine the Situation
Call a Plumber
Shut Off the Water
Warm Up the Pipes

YES! Can Help Prevent and Fix Frozen Pipes in Utah
FAQs About How to Keep Pipes from Freezing and What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

Should I Shut Off Outdoor Water Sources During the Winter?
Should I Turn Off the Water If My Pipes Are Frozen?
Can You Flush the Toilet If Your Pipes Are Frozen?
Why Is Only My Hot Water Pipe Frozen?
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Frozen Pipes?


Frozen Pipes Cause Damage

In the winter, the water sitting in your pipes can freeze, especially in pipes that are in exterior walls and colder areas like crawl spaces and closets. Freezing can occur once the temperature drops below 32 degrees F—though pipes most commonly freeze at around 20 degrees and below. 

Pipes already damaged by rust or clogs can become even more vulnerable to freezing. You should also look over your supply lines to make sure they haven’t become brittle or leaky. If they have extensive wear or obvious damage, replace them immediately.

Since pipes are often tucked away in basements or other seldom-visited parts of the home, they can cause great damage before they’re noticed—even leading to extensive sewer repair. Home damage, both inside and outside, can result from the expansion of the ice within the pipe, causing it to burst at the point of freezing. While this can happen, the more likely cause of damage from frozen pipes is increased water pressure behind the ice blockage. 

When ice blocks the pipe, the water builds up behind the blockage and eventually bursts it. That means the damage caused by a frozen pipe can occur several feet from where the freezing occurs.

Once the pipe bursts, you’ll need to repair it immediately. The experts at YES! have plenty of experience fixing broken pipes and can get to your home immediately—call YES! at 844-216-9300.

How to Keep Pipes from Freezing: 14 Tips

Nobody wants to deal with repairs to broken pipes and the water damage they can cause. You can take steps to prevent frozen pipes and avoid repairs in the first place.

  1.  Get Your Plumbing System Checked

The first thing to do to prevent pipes from freezing is to take an inventory of the plumbing system’s pipes. If you need help, you can call YES! to show you where all of the pipes in your home enter and where they run. Our experienced technicians can also indicate which pipes are more vulnerable to freezing. Just like with your AC, keeping things maintained and clean is crucial to prevent freezing. 

While the cost of maintenance vs. replacing pipes will depend on your plumber, the cost of maintaining your pipes will be a lot less than repairing them. YES! offers affordable prices and coupons to fix your pipes without breaking the bank.

  1. Insulate Your Pipes

Once you’ve identified potential problem areas in your plumbing, you can add insulation to those pipes. Adding insulation can raise water temperatures by two to four degrees, which could be the difference between freezing and not freezing. 

Pipe insulation is usually fiberglass or foam material. Fiberglass is the same material used within your home’s walls. Aluminum foil tape attaches this insulation to the pipes. 

Foam insulation is used for long pipe lengths. This material wraps around the pipes and is tied with plastic or metal strips. 

The best way to properly insulate exposed pipes in your home is to hire a professional. They’re familiar with the material and how far away insulation must be from heat sources to be safe. While it’s possible to DIY pipe insulation to save money, it could cost more in the long run if it’s done improperly. Instead, invest in professionals like YES! to get it done correctly the first time. 

  1. Add Heat Tape to Your Pipes

Another way to protect and warm up your pipes is via heat tape. Heat tape uses electric cables to warm the pipes. Plug the cable into a GFCI outlet and wrap it around your pipes in a candy-cane style.

Some people use both heat tape and insulation, but you must ensure that whatever material you use is safe. Call 844-216-9300 to get a professional opinion you can trust with YES!

  1. Watch Your Pipes Throughout Winter

It’s a mistake to assume that insulating pipes is all you need to stay safe for the winter—especially when living in Utah since the entire state is at a higher altitude. Remember: The type of weather doesn’t necessarily affect pipes freezing; instead, temperature matters. 

Water begins to freeze when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. Snow and wind can make the temperatures seem colder than they are. The higher your altitude, the lower the temperature. 

While it helps immensely, insulating pipes doesn’t completely protect them from harsh winter temps. You must monitor the pipes—check for leaks, particularly near connections, and watch the flow from faucets fed by the pipes you’re concerned about. 

Another sign of leaks is a higher water bill. If you see a spike in your water bill, particularly in the winter, it could mean a leak somewhere. If you can’t find the leak’s source, YES! offers leak detection services to avoid big bill surprises. 

We recommend checking for leaks or issues with your plumbing at least once a year. Just to be safe, walk around your home monthly to check in on things. If you feel the water pressure drop or if you see signs that your pipes are at risk due to leaks, bulging, or frost on the pipes, it’s time to call in the experts.

  1. Seal Leaks

If you discover a water leak, be sure to seal it. Sealing will help prevent damage from the leak and help keep cold from penetrating the pipes at the leak’s location. You can seal the water leak with a commercial emergency leak remedy. 

However, depending on the leak’s severity, this is only a temporary fix. You may need a professional pipe repair or replacement

You should also check for air leaks or drafts that could bring freezing air to your pipes. If you find a draft, you can plug holes or use heat tape to help keep your pipes safe during winter.

  1. Keep the Heat On

If you leave town, you can set your thermostat to a lower temperature to save energy, but never let it get below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. A cold house could lead to frozen pipes, something you don’t want to return home to.

Think about the areas of your house that stay colder and have pipes running through them. Consider setting the temperature higher to protect these areas of your home. You can also open closet and basement doors, cabinets, and other parts of your home where pipes run.

If there’s any snow before you leave, make sure you clear the areas around drains to help keep buildup down while you’re gone. This also includes any snow buildup around your HVAC system.

In addition to keeping your house heated when you’re away for an extended period, you can ask for help. Ask a neighbor to check on your house to ensure it feels warm enough inside. Ask them to check the thermostat to ensure it’s above 55 degrees and that the faucets are dripping to keep the water flowing.

Remember, the pipes closest to the outside of your home can still be at risk of freezing—even if your home is heated.

  1. Keep Water Running

When pipes start to freeze, you may notice a reduction in water flow. If you see this, turn on your faucets to a slow flow or trickle. Then, turn up the heat in your house. This procedure is essential for faucets fed by pipes that could be prone to freezing. 

Leaving water on at a slow stream or a trickle keeps the pipes from freezing by maintaining water flow. The flow also helps keep water pressure from building up. 

  1. Shut Off the Water System

If you decide to leave for a vacation and want to be careful about your pipes, turn off the water to your entire home. Some experts recommend doing this whenever you’re gone for 24 hours or longer during the winter. 

  1. Detach Outdoor Faucets

Utah’s extreme climate makes it necessary to winterize your home each fall. Part of that process includes shutting off outdoor water sources and disconnecting everything from outdoor faucets. Hoses, sprinklers, pools, and water tanks always retain a little water. That extra water can lead to freezing back up in your pipes if they’re left connected when it’s cold. 

Even outdoor faucets designed to not freeze in the cold can be susceptible to freezing when it gets really cold, especially with a water container still attached. You can add another layer of protection by installing an insulated cover to your outdoor faucets. Covers are relatively simple in design and easy to find. One type is an insulated bag that fits over an outdoor faucet and is cinched to keep it tight. This insulation helps keep the cold out of your pipes.

  1. Open Cabinets 

Did you know that something as simple as opening cabinets and closet doors can prevent your pipes from freezing? Many pipes run behind these parts of your house, and opening the doors allows heat to reach them—as long as your furnace runs properly.

  1. Install and Use a Hot Water Recirculating Pump

This pump connected to a water heater helps keep water above freezing temperature without making it too hot. Of course, this only works if you have one. 

  1. Keep the Garage Door Closed

If you have a garage, keep it closed when not in use. Garages usually aren’t insulated and will allow cold air into the home. Closing the door will also help lower your heating bill. 

  1. Use Space Heaters

You may feel a particular area of your home is colder, and you're concerned about your pipes freezing. If so, you can use space heaters in the suspected areas to direct more heat. Heating the pipes can stop or melt the freezing before it completely blocks your pipes and causes damage.

  1. Keep Your Gutters Clean & Clear Snow

Your gutters should be cleaned regularly and kept free of dirt, leaves, and other debris that often fall from trees. This matters because if your gutters get too dirty, inclement weather like snow or rain can occur while you’re gone and cause intense drainage in one spot, leading to flooding or frozen patches. 

To recap, when it comes to the pipes inside your home, damage prevention should be at the top of your priority list. It’s especially important to watch out for the pipes in cooler areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and garages.

What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

Sometimes, your pipes can still freeze, no matter how much you prepare for freezing temperatures. Here’s what you need to do. 

Examine the Situation

First and foremost, see what the situation is and its severity. Is the pipe showing frost, or is there a prominent bulge? This can be the difference between a minor problem and severe home damage.

Is it just one area or the entire house? Can you find the source of the problem?

Call a Plumber

Call a professional once you’ve examined the situation and discovered it’s too much to handle alone. Trying to fix a situation that requires a professional touch could cause more problems and damage your home.

Luckily for you, YES! offers emergency services, and we can help you out the same day when you’re facing a frozen pipe. 

Shut Off the Water

Whether or not you can find the cause of the leak, you should immediately turn your water off. This procedure will prevent more water pressure from building and slow the leak. 

Warm Up the Pipes

If you know where the frozen pipe is, you can use different emergency thawing techniques to heat it up. Don’t put flames directly onto frozen pipes; use the following items instead:

  • Hair dryer

  • Heating pad

  • Space heater

Make sure to monitor the water and electronics so you don’t harm yourself. 

YES! Can Help Prevent and Fix Frozen Pipes in Utah

The more preventive measures you take, the more successful you can be in preventing your pipes from freezing. While it might seem like a lot of work to monitor the pipes throughout the winter, it can’t compare to the headache and cost of repairing broken pipes and addressing flood damage.

If frozen pipes ever occur in your home, you can trust the experts at YES! to take care of it. You can also call us with any questions about how to keep pipes from freezing. Our friendly team is here to help. 

Call our team at 844-216-9300 to schedule service or speak with a technician today. 

FAQs About How to Keep Pipes from Freezing and What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

You may still have questions about how to keep your pipes from freezing and what to do when pipes freeze. We may have the answer below. 

Should I Shut Off Outdoor Water Sources During the Winter?

Yes, you should shut off outdoor water sources during the winter if it doesn’t affect your home’s water system. Make sure to drain outdoor water sources as well. 

Should I Turn Off the Water If My Pipes Are Frozen?

Yes, you should turn off the water if your pipes freeze. Shutting the water supply prevents water pressure from building, minimizing the chance of the pipes bursting. 

If you plan to go away for a while, find the main shut-off switch for the entire home. If you can shut it off while you’re away, that’s okay. If not, simply turn off the individual valves to the main appliances. You can normally find the valves near each appliance. Just follow the pipes until you see them.

Can You Flush the Toilet If Your Pipes Are Frozen?

Yes, you can flush the toilet if your pipes are frozen—if you know they’re frozen, and only if there isn’t a block of ice within them. If you’re unsure about the status of your pipes, it’s safer to not flush the toilet and call a plumber to prevent a backup or further damage.

Why Is Only My Hot Water Pipe Frozen?

Your hot water pipe may be the only pipe frozen because, unlike cold water pipes, there’s nowhere for the water to go. This makes it easier for the water to freeze because it stays still. Cold water pipes are attached to fixtures and act as a relief valve, allowing the water to circulate better. 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Frozen Pipes? 

Whether your homeowner's insurance covers frozen pipes depends on your insurance company. Generally, you must prove to your insurance company that you’ve done everything to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.

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Last Updated: May 24, 2024