With temperatures colder than 32°, you're going to need to ensure your home is protected from the elements. Preventing your pipes from freezing is actually comparatively simple and you will be relieved that you did. Frozen pipes can cost thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. We’ve listed our 12 simple and cost-effective steps to ensuring your home’s safety this winter.
How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing:
- Insulate Pipes: Attempt to insulate all hot and cold water pipes within the crawl spaces under your house as well as in the attic, and exterior walls if they are someplace you can reach. Use snap-on foam insulation and make sure foam insulation fits tightly without gaps. Apply duct tape to joints in insulation, and miter foam around elbows, so joints in pipes are completely covered.
- Heat Pipes: Think about protecting problematic pipes with UL-approved heat tape* made with a built-in thermostat to stop overheating. Stick to the instructions that come with heat tape carefully to keep from causing a fire hazard.
- Sprinkler System: Switch off your sprinkler system, and if you can shoot compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.
- Drip Faucets: Drip both hot and cold water using faucets in kitchen and bathroom. This not only makes sure of water moving through the pipes, but releases built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Use single-lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip, and pay particular attention to pipes running inside outside walls.
- Laundry Room: If there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room to drip, set your washing machine on warm water, and start the fill cycle periodically for a few minutes to run water through the pipes.
- Ice maker: Set your ice maker to produce ice if the ice maker water line is under the house.
- Cabinets: Open cabinet doors underneath sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are placed on exterior walls, to allow interior heat to warm the pipes.
- Garage: Keep garage door closed during extreme cold weather.
- Foundation: For houses that have a crawl space, be sure the foundation is totally covered, and that any gaps in foundation walls are filled with caulking or expanding foam. If the foundation vents are under the house, try to either close them or cover them up during extreme cold weather.
- Garden Hose: Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
- Exterior Faucets: To protect exterior faucets close to your foundation, either enclose faucets with insulated foam covers, shut off water to exterior faucets and open faucets to drain pipes, or install exterior faucets that cut water supply off inside foundation walls.
- Check for Leaks: Once the weather is warmer, switch off any dripping faucets as well as the ice maker, then review the water meter for any unseen leaks.