How To Keep Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter in Washington DC

Frozen pipes may sound like a pain in the butt, but beyond the inconvenience, they are also quite dangerous to your DC Metro home. Yes, they can prevent access to running water (an obvious problem). But the major concern? A frozen pipe can actually burst. The pressure between the closed faucet and the blockage can build and build, until the pipe explodes all over your lawn, or worse, the inside of your home. Ice rinks are nice, but let’s leave them to Nationals Park, not our backyards.

Temperatures are dropping here in Montgomery County as well as Northern Virginia and the entire DC Metro area, so it’s important to be proactive to prevent this from happening to you, dear neighbor.

Here are four ways how to keep those pipes from freezing this winter (and what to do if they do freeze):

#1 – Close that garage. 

You know when you’re outside doing yard work or playing with your kids, and you head in thinking you’ll come back out, but never do? This is the moment when garage doors are left open. We’ll let it slide during summer months, but during winter, err on the side of caution and close it every time you’re not using it. This is especially important if your water supply lines are in the garage. But even for those that are not, an open garage can be a detriment to a well-heated home.

#2 – Keep the thermostat consistent. 

It’s easy to get trigger happy with your thermostat when we have unexpectedly warm winter days in Washington DC, but you want to do your best to keep your thermostat consistent to prevent your pipes from freezing. Most importantly: Never let the heat drop below 55 degrees.

#3 – Add insulation. 

It’s not a terrible idea to install foam covers over your outdoor spigots and “pipe sleeves” to your water pipes. Beyond the spigots and pipes, look to improve insulation in other areas such as the attic, basement, crawl spaces, and garage.  

#4 – Keep a drip.

This may seem counterintuitive, but keeping a slow cold drip in any faucet served by exposed pipes could save you from frozen ones. Why? You’re promoting water-flow instead of still, frozen water.

What Do You Do If They Do Freeze?

Maybe you left for vacation and left the thermostat off, or your pipes weren’t insulated, and your pipes broke. Right off the bat, you should leave your faucets on and call a plumber immediately. If you experience flooding, turn off the water valve and call 911. As far as protecting your DC Metro home in the long-run, AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests that you do the following:

  • Make a list of damaged items and take pictures.
  • Save receipts of all spending (including living arrangements that might need to be made) and submit them to your insurance,
  • Standard homeowner policies will cover most damage that results from a freeze.
  • If there is water damage to the inside of your home, you must make sure it’s dried and repaired to prevent any chance of mold.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.