How to Protect Your Pipes in the Winter

Concerned about your pipes freezing this winter? Here's how you can protect your home from costly repairs.
October 4, 2022

Cape May County, New Jersey, winters can be brutal on your pipes.

As soon as the temperatures drop, New Jersey homeowners prepare their houses for the oncoming winter.

For many, this means ensuring that their plumbing systems are in good working order.

After all, a burst pipe during the winter can be devastating to your Cape May County home and its contents.

Water damage caused by burst pipes is one of the most frequent reasons for home devastation during the cold, with average repairs costing between $45 and $200 per hour.

If you're a homeowner in the area and don't want to deal with frozen or burst pipes this winter, there are some things that you can do yourself and some that may need to be done by one of our licensed plumbers.

To better understand how to protect your pipes for the winter, we've put together this guide.

How Do Pipes Freeze?

Water begins to freeze when the temperature drops and water pipes are particularly susceptible to freezing.

Water pipes that have frozen may burst and cause substantial leaks and flooding if they continue to do so for an extended period (especially if pipes are not adequately insulated).

Water expands when it freezes. The tendency to grow is the reason why you must be cautious about what you put in the freezer—certain items, such as soda cans will explode if left in a freezing environment for too long.

Water pipes operate on the same principle. If water within the pipe freezes, it expands, putting pressure on the pipe from the inside. If this pressure becomes too much, the pipe will burst.

Freezing pipes can also be caused by wind chill. When gaps, fractures, or doors allow cold outside air to enter your unheated rooms, your pipes are vulnerable.

Even minor cracks may allow a significant quantity of chilly air into a building, such as those through which phone, cable, internet, or television cables enter a house.

Pipes can freeze under the right circumstances, and potentially dangerous ice blocks and obstructions may form.

This is especially true in pipes located within a building's interior, especially where plumbing systems run through cabinets or the exterior of a building, such as garages, attics, and basements.

To keep your plumbing system's pipes safe, it can help to keep your indoor temperature set to 74 degrees Fahrenheit during cold snaps.

If Your Pipes Freeze, What Should You Do?

If your pipes are frozen, you may take steps to minimize damage and help thaw any ice blocks, but not every cold snap will result in freezing and clogged pipes.

Keep an eye out for these indications that your water supply has become frozen:

  • No water: The most obvious symptom of a frozen pipe is a lack of running water. If you turn on the tap and nothing or just a tiny amount of water comes out, there's probably an ice block in the pipe.
  • Frost on your pipes: Examine your pipes for frost during frigid temperatures. If it has frost, your pipe is most likely frozen.
  • Strange smells: Unpleasant odors emanating from a pipe or faucet might indicate a frozen connection. If your pipes are clogged with ice, the smells will be trapped inside and travel back toward your house.

After you've determined that your pipes have frozen, you may proceed to thaw them out.

However, when attempting to thaw any pipes, be cautious: if one of them has burst, unfreezing them might cause a flood.

Your best course of action is to first shut off your water supply at the main shutoff valve, followed by contacting one of our expert plumbers immediately; we can help you assess the situation and take care of the problem.

Prevent Frozen Pipes in Winter

Keeping your pipes from freezing is always better than dealing with the consequences. There are a few things you can do to prevent frozen and clogged pipes:

Leave Cabinet Doors Open

During cold spells, make sure that all of the cabinets in which plumbing systems lie remain open to allow air circulation and heat to reach them more easily.

Keep Garage Doors Closed

Keep your garage doors shut to prevent your pipes from freezing. This is especially crucial if water supply lines run through the garage. Typical garages are made from concrete which keeps the area chilly. Keeping the garage door closed is necessary to maintain a more appropriate temperature in the garage—and your home.

Keep Exterior Pipes Insulated and Clear of Snow

If you have exterior water supply lines that lead into the house, make sure these are insulated against cold weather. Also, ensure they're not obstructed by any significant snow accumulations or other obstructions that might block insulation. If your plumbing system's insulation is compromised in any way, the lines are more likely to freeze.

Attics and crawl spaces can also be susceptible to frozen pipes. Duct tape and wadded-up newspaper are excellent options for a temporary solution if a cold snap is on its way and you need emergency insulation.

Install a Smart Water Monitoring System

Flo by Moen

One of the best ways to protect your pipes from freezing and causing potential damage is to install a smart water monitoring system.

Systems like Flo by Moen can detect leaks, temperature changes, and other fluctuations that could indicate an issue with your plumbing system.

If a problem is detected, Flo sends an immediate notification to your smartphone or another device so that you can take corrective action quickly.

Keep Doors Open in Your Home

Pipes are frequently placed in bathrooms and kitchens, especially in the middle of your home. Even these pipes are susceptible to freezing—to some extent, most homes have an uneven distribution of heat throughout the structure.

Keep interior doors open to distribute heat throughout your home more efficiently. This is a fantastic technique for circulating warm air from room to room during the cold months.

Let Faucets Drip

Leaving a faucet dripping can help to prevent pipes from freezing.

You don't have to turn on every faucet in your house, but determining which taps are fed by exposed pipes will narrow down those that should be left to drip during extreme cold. Moving water generates a tiny amount of heat and is more difficult to chill than standing water, making it less vulnerable to freezing. Leaving a small amount of water flowing through your plumbing will help to prevent ice formations in your pipes.

The small quantity of friction and heat generated by flowing water also helps to relieve the pressure built up in freezing pipes. This helps to prevent your pipes from bursting even if the water within freezes.

Inspect and Seal Cracks and Openings

Before the winter, check your home for any holes, cracks, or gaps to prevent cold air from entering your pipe systems.

Check for any gaps or cracks in your windows and door frames, and inspect any cable holes in your walls and floors. Any openings around the sill plates should be filled where your house rests on its foundation.

Caulk any cracks or holes immediately surrounding piping on the exterior and interior walls. This helps to keep warm air inside and keep moisture and cold air from entering the home, which can also help lower your heating bills.

Call a Plumber

If you're experiencing problems with your plumbing system during cold weather, don't hesitate to contact Majewski Plumbing for assistance.

We have the expertise and experience necessary to help you keep your pipes from freezing and protect your home from water damage.

Majewski Plumbing is a full-service plumbing company serving Cape May County and the surrounding areas. We offer emergency services and a wide range of residential and commercial plumbing services.

We're licensed and insured, and our plumbers are experienced in all areas of plumbing repair and installation.

If you need help with your plumbing this winter, contact us today!


Pipes can freeze under the right circumstances, and potentially dangerous ice blocks and obstructions may form.

Keep an eye out for these indications that your water supply has become frozen:

  • No water
  • Frost on your pipes
  • Strange smells

To prevent frozen pipes:

  • Leave cabinet doors open
  • Keep garage doors closed
  • Keep exterior pipes insulated and clear of snow
  • Install a smart water monitoring system
  • Keep doors open in your home
  • Let faucets drip
  • Inspect and seal cracks and openings
  • Call a plumber

If you're experiencing problems with your plumbing system during cold weather, don't hesitate to contact Majewski Plumbing for assistance!

Majewski Plumbing

1275 Bayshore Rd

Villas, NJ


(609) 374-6001


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