Prevent Frozen Attic Pipes: 7 Essential Tips

can pipes freeze in the attic

Winter is here, and you may wonder, “Can pipes freeze in the attic?” Because pipes in the attic are often exposed to cold air, they are more likely to freeze. 

Frozen pipes can cause severe damage to your home, but there are ways to prevent them. Remember to take action before the cold weather hits to ensure your pipes stay safe and protected.

These seven tips have been proven effective in preventing frozen pipes in the attic.

By implementing these tips, you can save yourself the costly repairs that come with frozen and burst pipes.

7 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes in the Attic

The attic is typically an unheated area of the home, and during cold weather, the temperature in the attic can drop significantly, making it easier for pipes to freeze. 

When pipes freeze, the water inside them expands, which can cause the lines to burst and lead to costly repairs. 

It is essential to take preventative measures to prevent pipes from freezing in the attic, which we will review next.

Insulate Exposed Pipes

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Insulating the exposed pipes can help keep the pipes’ temperature consistent, preventing them from freezing.

It can also help to prevent cold drafts from entering the attic, which can cause the temperature to drop and make it easier for pipes to freeze.

Foam insulation wrapped around pipes can help reduce heat loss and keep the pipes warm by slowing heat transfer out of the lines. 

Wrap Pipes With Heat Tape

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Heat tape, also known as “heat cable” or “pipe heating cable,” is an electrical heating element designed to wrap around pipes to prevent them from freezing. 

It works by providing a steady source of heat to the lines, which helps to keep the water inside the pipes from freezing and expanding, which can cause the pipes to burst.

Seal Windows and Doors

Sealing windows and doors in the attic is essential to prevent frozen pipes because it helps keep cold air out of the space (this effect even works on water towers). 

When cold air enters the attic, it can cause the temperature to drop significantly, making it easier for pipes to freeze. 

This can be a big problem for lines in unheated parts of an attic that are close to outside walls or corners.

Disconnect Hoses

Disconnecting outdoor hoses, valves, and faucets is a great way to keep pipes from freezing in the attic because it keeps water from freezing in the pipes that lead to these outdoor fixtures. 

Disconnecting outdoor hoses, valves, and faucets and draining any remaining water from the pipes can help to prevent this from happening.

By doing this, you are removing the source of water that could freeze and cause damage to the lines.

Turn On Faucets

Allowing a small stream of water to drip from faucets is an excellent way to prevent frozen pipes in the attic because it helps keep the water moving in the lines.

When water is not moving, it is more likely to freeze and expand, which can cause the pipes to burst.

This strategy is most effective with faucets located on exterior walls or pipes that run through unheated spaces such as attics or crawl spaces.

It is important to note that this strategy will increase your water bill, but it is a cost-effective way to prevent frozen pipes and costly repairs.

Change the Thermostat

Changing the thermostat when you’re not home is a good idea to prevent frozen pipes in the attic because it helps to keep the temperature in the home above freezing, even when you’re not there to monitor it. 

When the temperature in the home drops below freezing, it can cause the water in the pipes to freeze and expand, which can cause the pipes to burst.

Keeping the thermostat at a higher temperature than usual can increase energy bills, but it is still less expensive than repairs to your home.

Open the Cabinets

Opening the cabinet doors is a good idea to prevent frozen pipes in the attic because it helps to allow warm air to circulate the pipes, which can help keep the pipes’ temperature above freezing. 

Pipes in cabinets or closets are more susceptible to freezing because they are often located in unheated areas of the home or near exterior walls.

FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions about preventing pipes from freezing in the attic.

How do you keep pipes from freezing in the attic?

To keep pipes from freezing in the attic, you can take several preventative steps, including disconnecting outdoor hoses, letting water drip from the faucets, insulating pipes, keeping the thermostat above freezing, and opening cabinet doors.

What temp do attic pipes freeze?

Attic pipes can freeze at temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.7 degrees Celsius) or lower. 

However, the exact temperature at which pipes will freeze can vary depending on factors such as the insulation of the pipes, the wind chill, and the amount of heat being produced in the attic.

It’s important to take preventative measures even when the temperature is just below freezing to ensure pipes don’t freeze.

How long does it take for attic pipes to freeze?

For the water pipes in your home to freeze, the temperature outside must remain below 20 degrees for at least six hours. The time it takes for attic pipes to freeze can vary, but it can happen if the temperature in the attic is low and the lines are poorly insulated. 

Should I open the attic door to keep the pipes from freezing?

Opening the attic door can help to keep pipes from freezing in certain circumstances. By opening the attic door, you are allowing warm air from the rest of the house to circulate into the attic, which can help to raise the temperature and prevent pipes from freezing.

However, it is essential to note that there may need to be more than just opening the attic door to prevent pipes from freezing, especially if the temperature in the attic is extremely low or the pipes are poorly insulated.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.