Exactly Why Do Pipes Freeze?

If the promise of a deep freeze, snow and record cold temperatures weren’t enough to throw many for a loop, the damage this latest deep freeze can do to a home’s plumbing should certainly do the trick.

It’s a nasty fact of life—albeit one we don’t often face in all parts of the country-when temperatures drop the chances of pipes freezing and/or bursting go WAY up. You can thank science for that one. And the below-freezing temps brought our way by Winter Storm Grayson aren’t going anywhere any time soon, which is why it’s crucial to take steps to prevent the inconvenience of frozen pipes and the costly damage they pose to your home. Remember, pipes that run through uninsulated areas of your home can and probably will freeze when temperatures drop…… If you turn on the faucet and no or little water comes out, your pipes may be frozen. That’s when you’ll need to call a plumber or the water company. 

Quick, easy steps you can take to prevent frozen pipes:

  • Insulate outdoor spigots with covers .
  • Stop freeze by Insulating exposed pipes by wrapping them with towels, blankets, or better foam pipe insulation from a hardware store. Keep garage doors closed. Water supply lines will freeze quickly in an unheated garage.
  • In older homes with a crawl space and uninsulated pipes, let your faucets drip overnight.
  • Know where your home’s water shut-off valve is and how to use it.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so warmer air circulates around the plumbing.
  • Leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 55° F while you are away.

To re-cap -If a pipe bursts, run, don’t walk, and immediately shut off the water at the main shut-off valve. If you have water damage to your home, you need to call an emergency damage restoration company immediately. You’ll of course need to contact your insurance company as well. If you are renting the home and don’t have renters insurance, you’ll be out of luck and may loose all your personal possessions.  The owner will have his/her homeowners policy to protect the property, unfortunately it will NOT cover your loss.

December 2018 is shaping up to be very cold, and has already been a very odd winter for most of the country. With temps ranging from a low of 15 to highs above 55 in Cincinnati, I can only imagine what’s next?  Above all, stay warm and safe.



Real Property Management is the nation’s leading property manager. For over 30 years, Real Property Management has developed intelligent solutions for thousands of individual property owners, investors, tenants and Realtors.


Matt Pelton

Matt’s an Ohio licensed Realtor with 20+ years experience in residential and investment real estate sales, leasing, property management, and offering pre-purchase consultations and BPO’s for investors and lending institutions. Matt currently works as the Sales Manger at Real Property Management. You can contact Matt at 866.500.6200, via email ([email protected]) or DM on twitter @CincySalesGuy

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