How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing While You’re on Vacation

Seven faucets drip water into a stone basin.

When temperatures drop in the winter, water pipes become exponentially more likely to freeze, especially in older homes with improperly installed insulation. Typically, frozen pipes can be thawed by applying heat to the affected areas, but things get complicated if your pipes freeze while you’re away and unable to quickly address the problem, leading to burst pipes, water damage, and even flooding.  

Before you leave on vacation, take precautions to ensure your pipes don’t freeze, such as installing new insulation and hiring a house sitter.  

Keep Your Heat on When You’re Away 

It might seem like a money-saving move to turn your heat off when you’re not at home. However, turning down the temperature in your home could make freezing pipes even more likely, especially if temperatures outside are sub-zero.  At a minimum, your thermostat should be set at 55 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re away. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that homeowners set their thermostats to 68 degrees Fahrenheit when they’re home and awake. 

Get a House Sitter 

If you intend to leave your home for a long period of time, consider hiring a house sitter or asking a trusted friend or family member to occasionally check on your home. If a pipe does burst, a house sitter can act quickly to control flooding and water damage before it causes permanent damage.  

Turn Off Your Water 

If you plan to leave your home for months at a time, consider shutting off your water completely. Typically, homeowners can switch off their water by closing the main water shutoff valve, usually located near the water meter. After the valve is shut, turn on all faucets and hoses within the home to drain any water left in the system.  

Drip Your Faucet 

Allowing your faucet to drip slightly prevents pressure from building up in the pipes and makes them less likely to break when the weather cools. Ideally, you should drip your faucets any time the temperature outside drops below 28 degrees for four hours or more. Make sure that you allow both the cold water and hot water faucets to drip. 

Open Your Cabinet Doors 

Many pipes are housed in bathroom and kitchen cabinets. Opening the cabinet doors allows warm air to circulate around the pipes, preventing freezing. 

Install More Insulation 

Installing insulation in your home can help keep warm air circulating throughout the space between the walls, where pipes are usually located. Different regions of the house benefit from different types of insulation, so consult with a renovation professional to determine how to best install insulation in your home. 

Protect Your Home with Royal Renovations 

Royal Renovations is here before (and after) disaster strikes. If your pipes burst this winter, our emergency repair professionals have you covered. We’re experts in water damage remediation and can help you get your home back to its pre-damaged condition.  

Call us today to learn more about our water restoration services and how we can help repair broken water pipes.  

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