Why Do Pipes Freeze in the Winter?

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Why Do Pipes Freeze in the Winter?

Because plumbing pipes are out-of-sight, they are also out-of-mind. Because of this, many homeowners forget to take measures to protect their pipes from freezing. But these measures are essential to prevent freezing and protect your plumbing system from damage. It can be helpful to understand why pipes freeze in the first place. 


Continue reading for information on signs your pipes may be frozen, why pipes freeze, the danger of frozen pipes and preventive measures.


If you are ready to schedule Winter plumbing service, contact our Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating team at (469) 518-2809.

Why Pipes Freeze in the Winter

Like all climate-based processes, there is a specific set of conditions that make your pipes freeze. Understanding why your pipes freeze in the winter is necessary to understanding the importance of taking preventative measures. The main condition under which your pipes freeze is temperature. If the water inside your pipes reaches a temperature below 32º F then they will begin to freeze. 


However, water in motion is harder to freeze. This means that the water may not freeze right at 32º F, it may take several degrees lower than this to freeze the water. While this may be true, you still should take preventative measures to make sure that the temperature never gets to that point.

Signs Your Pipes May Be Frozen

In most situations, it can be pretty easy to tell if your pipes are frozen. Take a look at this list of signs that your pipes may be frozen:


  • Lack of water when you turn the faucet on
  • It is 32º F or lower outside
  • Frost on visible piping
  • Bad odors coming from the drain and sewer pipes


If any or all of these signs are present, you need to call a plumber to fix your frozen pipes. If they aren’t fixed right away you may encounter worse issues that are much more expensive and time consuming to fix.

Dangers of Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can cause major damage to your home and plumbing system. The most common danger of frozen pipes is the high possibility of burst pipes. When water freezes, it expands. If the water begins to freeze and expand, eventually it will run out of space within the pipe. Under high pressure it may crack the pipe open.


When you have a frozen or burst pipe, you will also have a lack of running water. Think about all of the things you do during the day that require water: laundry, washing dishes, cooking, hydrating, bathing and more. Without running water, your household is put in an uncomfortable situation. The cost of insulating your pipes and putting other preventative measures in place is well worth the avoidance of such a frustrating and expensive inconvenience. 

Preventing Frozen Pipes

There are many preventative measures that you can put in place to prevent your pipes from freezing over. Here are five tasks to complete so you can avoid frozen pipes:

1. Insulate Your Pipes  

The most common method taken to protect against frozen pipes is insulation. You can purchase numerous kinds of pipe insulation from your local home improvement store. The easiest to apply and most widely available forms of pipe insulation are foam sleeves. Give your plumber a call if you need help applying insulation to your pipes. 


Remember to apply insulation to the biggest areas of concern first. These include the exposed piping in your garage, attic, basement and other areas with poor insulation. While this task may seem like an inconvenience, it is preferable to a burst pipe and lack of running water.

2. Let Your Faucet Drip

While this may seem counterintuitive, letting your faucet drip can actually help in the case that your pipes do begin to freeze. When you let your faucet drip, the continuous flow of water relieves pressure within your pipes. 


You don’t have to do this with every faucet in your home, but it is suggested that you at least do it for your kitchen sink and utility sink if applicable. Without insulation, letting your faucet drip may not completely prevent your pipes from freezing, but it may prevent them from bursting. 

3. Keep Garage Door Closed

If you have exposed piping in your garage, then be sure to keep the garage door closed. It’s best to keep the hot air inside your home. Even exposing your pipes to the cold outside air can make your pipes freeze. While you may not have hot air registers in your garage, keeping the door closed keeps your pipes unexposed to low temperatures. 

4. Seal Windows and Doors

This is an important tip not just to prevent your pipes from freezing but also to conserve energy costs. When temperatures begin to drop, it’s imperative that you seal the windows and doors in your home. This will keep the warm air inside, rather than it escaping outside. 


You can purchase caulk and other sealants at any home improvement store. All you have to do is go around your windows and doors with the caulk. You should also ensure that all windows close completely and the rubber seals around doors are intact. This is an excellent way to save money on energy costs and keep your pipes at a nice temperature.

5. Keep Interior Doors Open

Another great way to save on energy costs and protect your pipes from freezing is to keep your interior doors open. This allows the heat to travel more efficiently throughout your home. It is especially for your interior piping so that all rooms are properly heated. Burst interior pipes are a much more complex plumbing repair, so be sure to protect those by keeping your doors open. 

Reliable Duncanville Plumbers

For an excellent plumber in Duncanville, TX, you need Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating. Our team of qualified plumbers is ready to help you with all of your piping insulation needs. We provide a variety of plumbing services, including maintenance, repair and replacements, for a variety of systems. 


When you hire Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating you can expect high quality workmanship and superior customer service. Duncanville residents can feel confident that they are getting only the best service possible when they hire Dial One Johnson. 


To schedule a plumbing appointment with Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating, give us a call at (469) 518-2809 or contact us online.


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