Last Updated on October 6, 2020
A crawl space, or the hollow area under a home, plays a significant role in many homes. Usually, it is where most homeowners install their HVAC, electrical wiring, and piping. While this provides a convenient setting for such systems, especially when it comes to future repairs and replacements, this exposes them to the outside air.
Thus, when winter comes, this can lead to major problems, especially with your piping. Once the temperature drops, they may start freezing. And when pipes freeze, the consequences can be catastrophic. So before the cold season settles in, you should already be making the necessary preparations to keep pipes from freezing.
Don’t know where to start? Let us give you a hand. Here are some ideas on how to keep pipes from freezing in crawl spaces. But first, let’s discuss why piping in this particular area is more prone to freezing.
Why Are Pipes in Crawl Spaces More Prone to Freezing?
If your crawl space isn’t insulated or if it is not sealed, then no doubt, your pipes are going to freeze during the cold season. This is because your plumbing system is partially exposed to the outside environment. Even if it’s just a tiny opening or a quick gush of cold air, the water in the pipes can quickly freeze.
That said, the first step you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing is to add insulation. This can prevent cold air from reaching your crawl space and save you from water damage and burst pipes. This can also keep your home warmer during the winter season. You can use foam boards along the edges and screw them to the frame of the area.
Aside from insulating your crawl space, here are the other steps you can take in keeping your pipes from freezing.
6 Ways On How to Keep Pipes From Freezing In Crawl Spaces
1. Use foam pipe insulation
- Stop condensation on cold pipes
- Prevent heat loss or gain to save energy
- Black finish
This is very effective in preventing frozen pipes and it’s cheap too. You can visit your local hardware store or you can purchase online. Amazon, for example, offers many varieties of good foam pipe insulation. You can try the M-D Building Self-Sealing Tube Pipe Insulation. It is easy to install and comes with pre-cut, self-sealing slits.
- 3-Feet Black. Tubular. Polyethylene Foam Pipe Insulation
- Helps To Prevent Pipes From Freezing Or Sweating
- Pre-slit, With Heavy-duty 5/8-Inch Wall Thickness
- For Use On 1/2-Inch Copper Pipe Or 1/4-Inch Iron Pipe
You can also check out the Thermwell P10 Foam Insulation. It can help prevent your pipes from freezing and sweating. Also, it’s made with a heavy-duty ⅝-inch thick wall and ideal for ½-inch copper pipe or ¼-inch iron pipe.
When choosing what foam insulation to buy, make sure that it matches your pipes’ width. Also, don’t forget your pipes in the garage or attic since typically, they are exposed to cold air as well.
2. Use a space heater in the crawl space
When the temperature is too cold, consider running a space heater in the area. Don’t worry, you don’t have to set it on high. It just has to be warm enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.
- Garage/workshop fan-forced heater with 4000-watt stainless-steel element
- 13,640 BTUs; automatic temperature control from 45 to 77 degrees F
- Fan delay uses residual heat for economical performance; auto safety shut off
- Attaches to wall/ceiling with included mounting bracket; heater swivels to direct heat
If you don’t have one yet, you can check out the Dimplex DGWH4031G 4000 Watt space heater. It features an automatic temperature control from 45 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also designed to attach to walls or ceilings and it comes with a mounting bracket. This heater can swivel to direct heat to your pipes.
3. Place a low-watt light bulb near your pipes
This can help prevent freezing. Just make sure that you put the bulb near the pipes’ elbow since this is the spot that’s more prone to freezing.
4. Install an electric heating cable
For extreme weather conditions, you might need to rely on electric heating cables. These are products that you can either wrap around the pipes or run alongside them using tape or zip ties to keep them secure. When you plug the cables to an outlet, an electrical current will run through the cables and warm the pipes. This will ensure that water will keep flowing and that your pipes won’t freeze.
- For metal and plastic residential water pipes
- Keeps water flowing down to (-40) degrees F
- For use on 2 in. metal and plastic water pipes.
- Easy to install
If you’re interested, you can check out this Frost King HC30A Heating Cable. It works well with metal and plastic residential water pipes. Furthermore, it is equipped with a self-regulating thermostat that will effectively keep your pipes from freezing.
5. Close your crawl space vents
Usually, homes with crawl spaces have several vents that allow outside air to come in and hot indoor air to go out. While this is beneficial most of the time, it puts you at a disadvantage during winter.
The cold air that can enter your vents can cause your pipes to freeze. Thus, you need to close the vents temporarily. Then when the threat of a freeze is gone, you have to open the vents back up again to prevent moisture buildup.
6. Turn on the heat
If you are going away, make sure to turn the heat on. Most people don’t do this for fear of their bills going up. However, if you consider the cost of repairs for a burst pipe, which is around $1000 to $4000, the cost of your heating bills will be much lower.
When you continue to heat your home even if you’re away, this heat will radiate to your pipes and prevent them from freezing. But don’t worry, you can lower your thermostat and set it to 50 or 55 degrees.