As temperatures continue to plummet, one of the biggest problems that many homeowners face in unheated areas of their homes is freezing pipes. Even a little ice can tear open your water supply line, leading to unpleasant surprises such as flooding, structural damage and mould growth, especially if there is no one home to turn off the water. 

If you are leaving home this winter season, here are a few ways to prevent your pipes from wreaking havoc in your home during your winter getaway. 

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate 

By far, adding a layer of insulation to all plumbing fixtures is the best way to protect your pipes from cold temperatures and slow down the freezing process. Insulating forgotten crawl spaces, garages and basements or calling in a professional plumber to reroute pipes away from cold spots is the best and most effective way to address the problem.

Drain Residual Water on Outdoor Faucets 

Ice forms readily in exposed outdoor faucets and can lead to extensive damage far into the home. It is, therefore, crucial that you detach your garden hose and drain the faucet fixture at the beginning of winter season. 

In addition to this, you should shut off your outdoor water supply source before the first freeze of the season. An extra safety measure is to install frost-free faucets that are designed to prevent water from freezing in pipes during the winter months by eliminating water from freezing air. In case you forget to winterise your outdoor faucets, you can use a hair dryer to thaw the faucet and easily access the handle. 

Leave Your Doors Open to Allow Heat into Exposed Pipes 

Leaving cabinet doors open is crucial for heat circulation and to protect exposed pipes inside the cabinetry. When the temperatures drop, the heat from the rest of your house will help keep under the cabinet pipes warm, especially if your sinks are located on an exterior wall. Be sure to open all interior doors and keep the heat on even when leaving your home. 

Please note that this does not apply to the garage door. In fact, it is important that you keep the garage door closed to protect any exposed water line in the garage. 

If you have frost damaged plumbing pipes, immediately call in a professional plumber to replace any broken or leaking fixtures you have and to help winterise the rest of your plumbing system.