Whether you live in your log home year-round or use it as a vacation home, if it is located where frigid temperatures exist, your pipes are at risk.
When temperatures plummet, the risk of your pipes freezing and bursting skyrockets. In fact, burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during frigid weather. We all know that freezing begins at 32° F or 0° C, but at what point do pipes freeze within our own homes? Temperatures only need to drop to about 20° F for a few hours to put exposed pipes at risk.
Thankfully, when thinking about how to keep pipes from freezing, there are several preventative measures that you can take!
Heat and Insulation
Wrap pipes with insulating material. Heater cable can also be useful, keep in mind that heating tape is rather pricey, so if you need to protect a lot of pipes for long periods of time, it may not be your best option. Additionally, adding more insulation to areas that don’t get much heat, like basements, garages, crawl spaces, etc. will help to maintain a higher temperature in these areas.
Seal Cracks and Holes
Check your cabin for leaks that let the cold air inside, especially near where pipes are located. If you find any, use caulk or insulation to keep the cold air out. If you’re able to, seal holes on both the interior and exterior sides of the wall.
Regulate your Thermostat
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night. Again, during a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill. If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F. Consider installing a freeze alarm, and set it so that it sends an alert to your phone when indoor temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This will provide you with more time to warm areas at high risk of frozen pipes.
Let the Water Drip
A trickle of water out of the faucet may be all it takes to prevent the pipes in your cabin from freezing. Turn on one or more of your faucets so that there is a tiny trickle of water. This prevents pressure from building up inside the pipes.
Open Cabinet Doors and Draws
Many pipes are located in cabinets, so it’s a good idea to keep these doors open in frigid temperatures. This allows the warmer air in your cabin to circulate into the cabinets and around the plumbing. It’s also smart to keep other interior doors open as well, like bedroom and bathroom doors. The key is to keep the warm air circulating throughout the inside of your cabin as much as possible.
Garage and Exterior Doors
Keep all closed, especially if there are water supply lines nearby
As a reminder, don’t forget you outdoor plumbing…
Drain all garden hoses or water sources. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes, don’t forget items like a water softener discharge. Drain air conditioner pipes, and if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
If you are closing up your cabin for the winter, you will want to shut off your water supply to avoid costly damage to your pipes and interior spaces. To prevent your pipes from freezing you will want to:
- Shut off your water supply
- Drain the pipes and hot water tank
- Blow out the pipes
There are many resources to help you prepare and prevent damages caused by frigid temperatures. These steps can seem daunting; however they are far less timely and expensive than a burst water pipe or two!