Do you know what temperature is too cold for pipes? While temperatures in our part of California rarely dip below freezing in the winter, you still need to plan for the unexpected. So, how cold does it have to be for pipes to freeze, and how can you prevent frozen pipes? Read on to learn everything you need to know.
What temperature is too cold for pipes?
While there’s no specific ambient temperature that immediately causes pipes to freeze, the freezing temperature of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and your pipes could freeze at any temperature below that number. For the pipes themselves to freeze, the temperature would have to reach about 20 degrees. Luckily, in a place like California, if temperatures do drop to that level, they won’t stay there for a long time.
However, keep in mind that water expands as it freezes, which means your pipes don’t need to be frozen solid to sustain damage. In short, if any exterior pipes at your home have frozen water in them, they can potentially burst from the pressure caused by freezing.
How can I prevent pipes from freezing?
Outdoor pipes are the ones that are most likely to freeze. These include pipes attached to pools, sprinklers and spigots. Pipes in other locations are vulnerable, too. Any pipes running through your garage, attic or crawlspace are also at risk of freezing. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to make sure that doesn’t happen. They include:
- Winterizing your plumbing system: As winter approaches, turn off all outside plumbing lines, including those for sprinkler systems. Disconnect hoses and make sure the lines are completely drained before freezing temperatures hit.
- Insulating your pipes: Pipe sleeves and other protective products can prevent exterior pipes from freezing. Compared to replacing your pipes entirely, this is a very inexpensive option. Also, take time to dress up outdoor faucets with a faucet sock.
- Heating your home: One of the easiest ways to prevent pipes from freezing is to heat your home consistently during the winter months. If you’re planning to be away for an extended time during the winter, never turn your heater off completely. Instead, set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees to keep your home—and your pipes—from getting too cold. Try to circulate warm air to your plumbing by opening cabinet doors underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Letting your faucets drip: If temperatures start to dip to freezing levels and you’re worried about the potential for your exterior water lines to freeze, it’s smart to keep your faucets running at a trickle. Even a minimal amount of flow keeps the water moving and minimizes pressure, making it much harder for your pipes to freeze.
Now that you’ve discovered how cold it has to be for pipes to freeze, remember that the best way to ensure your pipes stay safe all winter long is by calling the experts at Alvarado Pumping Septic Service. We do everything we can to keep your pipes and your entire plumbing system in great working order, offering exceptional service at affordable rates. Reach out today to schedule a service appointment.