2 Cheap Ways To Keep Your Garage's Plumbing Pipes Warm When Your Boiler Goes Out

When your boiler stops working in the middle of winter, you need to find ways to keep the plumbing pipes in your attached garage warm until a technician arrives, especially if your boiler is in the garage. If your boiler's pipes freeze and thaw out, the thawed water can eventually burst through the pipes and flood your home's foundation. To avoid these expensive and troublesome issues, here are some cheap tips you can use to keep your garage's plumbing pipes warm.

Don't Have Insulating Plastic? Place Garbage Bags Over Your Garage's Windows

Even if your garage has small windows on the garage's doors, the pipes can still freeze and burst once the cold air from outdoors passes through the windows' glass. A working boiler creates enough heat inside the garage to warm up the windows' glass if it's cold. When the boiler stops working, the cold air passes through the glass unchecked.

Since cold air tends to stay close to the flooring, the pipes in this location are vulnerable to freezing. Eventually, the cooler air will travel upward toward the ceiling and along the walls of the garage. The pipelines in these areas also become cold enough to freeze the water moving through them.

You can keep cold air from passing through the glass by placing insulating plastic over the windows. But if you don't have this product at home or it's too snowy to travel on the road to buy the plastic, you can improvise with large plastic garbage bags.

Now, follow these steps below:

  • Use a cutting knife or scissors to cut along the seams of the bags – you don't want to tear or place holes in the bags
  • Place an opened bag over each window glass and use wide tape to secure it onto the foundation around the glass – make sure to cover the frames around the windows as a way to keep cold air from seeping inside the garage
  • Reinforce the covered windows with one or two more bags – it adds more protection against the cold air

This temporary method may help protect your garage's plumbing pipes until your boiler repair specialist arrives. You can also protect any exposed plumbing pipes in the garage with old blankets.

Don't Have Insulating Foam? Cover Your Boiler's Exposed Plumbing Pipes with Old Blankets

If you have exposed PVC or polyvinyl pipelines in your garage, you can cover them with something warm to keep the water inside them from freezing. Like metal, vinyl material gets smaller or contracts when it's exposed to cold air and expands when it's exposed to heat.

If you surround the exposed pipes with foam insulating material, you may help prevent or slow down the freezing process until a specialist comes. However, if you don't have foam sitting around, you can wrap the exposed pipes with blankets. Here's what you do:

  • Gather any old blankets – you can use  old blankets, such as baby blankets, throw blankets and quilts to insulate the pipes
  • Use a tape measure – measure the length of your pipes with a tape measure or long ruler, then cut this amount from the blankets, or you can just cut 16-inch rectangles if your pipes are small
  • Wrap the exposed pipes – wrap the rectangles of blanket material around the pipes – you may need to overlap the material to make it fit
  • Use tape – secure the material in place with large tape

Since the pipes and the water inside the pipes are cold, you won't create a fire hazard. Your plumbing specialist will place the right insulating material like foam on the pipes during the repairs. But if you do notice that the pipes still feel hot to the touch, don't place any blanket material over them until they cool down.

When unexpected boiler problems occur, you can still find easy and cheap ways to keep your garage's plumbing pipes warm. If you need additional advice on how to protect your plumbing pipes during the winter, contact a plumber today, or have a peek here for more information.