How Long Does It Take For Pipes to Freeze?

In cold climates, one of the biggest concerns homeowners face is frozen pipes. It’s an issue that can lead to significant water damage and costly repairs if not addressed promptly. It is important to know how to take care of the pipes in your home. How long does it take for pipes to freeze? It can take only a few hours when they are exposed to temperatures below freezing. However, this will depend on other factors as well.

Let’s learn more about freezing pipes so hopefully you can avoid this happening in your home!

Insulating pipes so they don't freeze.

How Long Does it Take for Pipes to Freeze?

Typically, pipes start freezing once the outside temperature dips below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The time it takes for pipes to freeze depends on various factors, but generally, they can freeze within a few hours when exposed to temperatures below freezing point.

How to Prepare the Pipes for Freezing Temps?

Several preventive measures can be taken like insulating your pipes, sealing any cracks in your walls, or leaving faucets slightly open to prevent pipes from freezing.

Factors That Impact Whether Your Pipes Will Freeze

Many factors determine whether your pipes will freeze. Some of these include:

  • Where You Live – If you reside in a region with colder climates, your pipes are at a higher risk of freezing.
  • Location of Pipes: Pipes located in unheated interior spaces like basements and attics are likely to freeze.
  • Insulation: Adequate insulation can protect your pipes from freezing temperatures.
  • Type of Pipes: The material of your pipes can also play a role. For instance, metal pipes freeze faster than plastic ones.
  • Temperature: The lower the temperature drops, the higher the likelihood of your pipes freezing.

Signs You Have Frozen Pipes

Some typical signs of frozen pipes include:

  • No running water
  • Visible frost on the pipes
  • Unusual odors coming from the drains or faucets
Cracked pipe as a result of freezing in cold temperatures.

What to Do if You Have Frozen Pipes?

If you suspect your pipes have frozen, turn off the water supply immediately. You should then attempt to slowly thaw them using safe heat sources like heaters or towels soaked in hot water.

What Temperature Will Make the Pipes Burst?

Pipes often burst when the water inside them freezes, expands, and increases pressure within the pipe. This typically happens when temperatures drop to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Keep the Pipes From Bursting?

Key steps include insulating your pipes, making sure the heating is on, and keeping cabinet doors open so that warm air can reach pipes.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know more about how to keep pipes from freezing, let’s look at a few other areas of recommended maintenance. One of those is keeping the pipes from freezing in a crawl space. To do this, clean out the crawl space area, make sure the area is sealed, and also insulate the pipes.

Another is winterizing your screened-in porch. To do this, there are a few options and it depends on your budget. One of those is buying heavy-duty vinyl curtains. Another is using sheeting on the windows, or paneling. Lastly, there is putting in windows instead of having a screen so you can use the area year-round.

Lastly, is preventing snow from sliding off the roof. This involves installing a snow guard that will hold the snow in place. This is important so that the snow doesn’t cause an avalanche of snow and ice.

When Do I Call a Professional?

If your attempts to thaw the pipe fail or if you notice a leak, it’s time to call a professional. Also, if you’re unsure about how to handle the situation, it’s always safer to get expert help. Having issues with the pipes or a leak is important to take care of right away before you have a bad situation on your hands.


A good understanding of why and how pipes freeze can help you take preventive measures in time. Be alert for signs of frozen pipes, so you can act swiftly and avoid serious damages. A reminder to reach out to a professional for more ideas to keep your pipes from freezing if the suggestions above don’t work. It could also be time to replace pipes in your home and a professional can let you know if that is what you need to do. While maintaining and winterizing your pipes, it is a good time to call on House Inspection Associates to conduct a full home inspection in the Virginia, D.C., and Maryland areas.

A+ service

Client testimonials

Are you looking for professional house inspection associates?