Winter Frost: Protecting Water Pipes in the Cold Season

Winter Frost: Protecting Water Pipes in the Cold Season

For homeowners and gardeners, the cold season is fraught with many problems. Temperatures below freezing make many installations and plants in the garden. Water pipes are particularly problematic. At temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, the water freezes and can cause it to burst. Below, we explain what home improvement measures can take to make water pipelines survive the winter.

As autumn draws to a close and temperatures drop to single digits, do-it-yourselfers should take action to protect their water pipes. With the preparations you make sure that during the winter no expensive damages arise. Bursted water pipes in the ground can only be replaced with great effort.

Why frozen water is problematic

Water is a necessity in the garden. It is directed into rain barrels, irrigates the lawn and supplies the well with water. In winter, the cool water loses its classic properties. When water freezes, it expands. Its volume grows by about nine percent. This pressure can not withstand any water pipe, so it either ruptures or explodes in the worst case.

Elastic materials like a garden hose are less affected by the phenomenon than a plastic water pipe. Plastic loses its elasticity as temperatures drop so that the material becomes very rigid.

Pipes and pipes are also subject to a natural aging process. According to GDV, the first damage occurs after about 20 years. Every year, around one million tap water damages occur in the living area, causing costs of two billion euros.

Laying water pipes properly

Measures to protect water pipes ideally start with laying. At this time, do-it-yourselfers have a lot of leeway when it comes to protecting the pipes.

Theoretically, it would be possible to lay pipes for a well, for example frost-proof. The problem: The cables must be laid at least 1.2 meters deep. An expensive and expensive endeavor, which is not worthwhile for most do-it-yourselfers.

The alternative is laying below the surface. Do-it-yourselfers usually lay cheap plastic pipes or garden hoses, depending on the purpose of the pipes. If damaged, they can be easily replaced.

They can be encased to protect the cables. This protection rarely helps, because the problem is not the cold, but the water in the pipes.

Drain water in the pipes.

In winter, most of the water pipes are at rest, so there is no reason for the cool ones Liquid flows through it. Do-it-yourselfers should switch off the water supply shortly before the first frost period. Then they open all taps in the garden and empty the pipes. With compressed air, you can be sure that every drop of water leaves the lines.

If you have an overground garden hose, you should also empty it. For this work you should choose a sunny day. Lay out the garden hose in the garden. Disconnect the hose from the tap and open the valve. Now lift the end of the hose pointing towards the faucet and let the water flow out on the other side.

The garden hose needs a frost-proof place to hibernate. A high place in the garden house or in the basement is suitable for this.

Installation of frost-proof taps

There are do-it-yourselfers who need water in winter. For them there is a practical solution: frost-proof outdoor taps (Source: This faucet has a volume compensator capable of absorbing the excess amount of ice or water.

Such a system is suitable both for installation in the construction of a house as well as for retrofitting. Do-it-yourselfers only need to consider the wall thickness to be compatible with the system.

Maximum hygiene through self-draining fittings

Frost-proof taps are a great investment for all DIY enthusiasts. Also important is the installation of self-draining fittings. These are especially important where the faucet is rarely used. The water in the tap is available for many hours or days, so that germs can easily form there. Separate drainage keeps the water clean.

Defrosting frozen pipes

If unprotected pipes are frozen and do-it-yourselfers want to prevent damage, there is a solution: Carefully thaw the frozen area of ​​the pipes.

  • Hot water
  • Hot cloth
  • Heating pad
  • Hair dryer

Equipped with the above tool you turn off the main water tap and open the tap where the problem occurs. Now you start with the tools to thaw the line slowly.

The goal is to thaw the line slowly. Otherwise you risk the line bursting.

Insurance as protection against damage

According to the German Insurance Association
, homeowners insurance protects against water damage to the residential building, the garage and the shed. Many property owners use this policy in addition to home insurance.

Even if insurance coverage covers damage, it is always wise to take steps to eliminate those defects.


Home improvement can be done with simple measures Avoid the risk of freezing outdoor water pipes. The installation of frost-proof taps is particularly recommended, as water remains usable in winter in this way. As an additional safeguard it is worthwhile to take out a homeowners insurance.

Artikelbild: © Jorge Cacho / Shutterstock