At what temperature do pipes freeze?


Quick Answer

Anytime the temperature outside drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the water inside the pipes starts expanding, which may cause the pipes to burst. Pipes or hoses that are located outside, in unheated areas of the house or along exterior walls without sufficient insulation are most likely to freeze and burst.

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At what temperature do pipes freeze?
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Full Answer

Frozen pipes are a common problem in the winter months, when temperatures are regularly below freezing. However, there are many ways to avoid frozen or burst pipes.

Before the weather starts to cool down in the fall, drain water from outdoor swimming pools and sprinkler systems. Drain water from outdoor hoses and keep all valves open, so that if water remains in the pipe it can safely drain out over time. The easiest way to prevent pipes from expanding and bursting is to empty the water out when the weather is still above freezing, before the water has a chance to begin freezing and expanding.

Look around the home for areas where pipes are exposed to the cold. Insulate attics, basements, and crawl spaces. This will help these cold areas retain heat, reducing the chance of pipes in these areas bursting. Insulate pipes in places such as kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and in basements or garages.

When the temperature drops below freezing, keeps faucets on at a slow trickle. Water moving through the pipes prevents freezing and expansion. During cold weather, keep your home at the same temperature during the day and night, so that cold nighttime temperatures don't freeze any water in the pipes. If leaving your home for an extended amount of time, set the thermostat at at least 55° F.

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