Top 5 Household Items that May Help Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Unexpected cold snaps and winter power outages can cause a lot of different problems for homeowners. Frozen pipes are one of them. I know that from personal experience. Sometimes there is just not enough time to get your home’s pipes insulated before the bad weather hits. If you find yourself in such a situation, you may want to try and temporarily warm your home’s pipes with items that you may already have on hand. Based on my experience, there are five household items that may be used to help keep your pipes from freezing during an unexpected cold snap. Here’s a quick rundown on each on:

Portable Heaters

Over the years, I have found that portable heaters work the best when it comes to keeping a home’s pipes from freezing. When we lived in the northeast, my husband and I kept two portable heaters in our home. Our portable heaters ran on kerosene and we used them during winter power outages. We bought our portable heaters at the local hardware store. At the time, they cost us roughly $150 each.

Heating Lamps

In the past, I have also plugged in household lamps and spotlights near exposed pipes during unexpected cold snaps. The heat emitted from the light bulbs helped to keep the pipes warm. In my experience, 100-watt light bulbs worked fairly well. Of course higher wattage light bulbs worked much better. I wouldn’t, however, recommend using less than a 100-watt light bulb for such applications. They just didn’t seem to generate enough heat to make a difference.

Heating Pads and Electric Blankets

When it comes to keeping pipes from freezing in emergency situations, a household heating pad or an electric blanket is also likely to do the trick. On previous occasions, I have used household heating pads to help keep small pipes from freezing. The heating pads didn’t work too well with the bigger pipes. With the bigger pipes, only the area that had the heating pad wrapped around it remained unfrozen.

Household Linens

Believe it or not, household linens and duct tape may also be used in an emergency situation to help keep your home’s pipes from freezing. Although any type of household linen will work if it’s thick enough, blankets, bath towels and hand towels tend to work the best. I’d suggest that you wrap the exposed pipes with the linens as tightly as you can. Otherwise cold air may seep through the open, loose areas and cause spot freezing to occur.

Old Newspapers

Are you worried that you won’t have enough towels and blankets to wrap all your home’s exposed pipes? If so, you may want to consider rounding up all the old newspapers and magazines lying around your house. I have found that old newspapers and magazines will also work in a pinch as pipe insulation. Just be sure to wrap the pipes in a very thick layer of paper. One or two sheets of newsprint aren’t going to cut it. You’ll want the paper insulation to be at least an inch thick or more.

Source: Personal Experience

Killeen Gonzalez has a history of completing DIY home improvement projects with her family.

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