How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing During The Cold Winter Months

When the weather outside is frightful, the prospect of frozen pipes can be downright scary.  Nobody wants the inconvenience, expense, and interruption of water damage from pipes that have frozen and burst. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help avoid frozen pipes, including these tips:

  • Make sure your pipes are properly insulated for your area of the country.  If you think your pipes need additional insulation, you can buy materials at your local home or hardware store, or you can have a professional do the work.
  • Inspect your home for air leaks that could be letting warm air out and cold air in.
  • When temperatures drop below freezing for a sustained period, let the faucets drip at a small trickle to keep water moving and to help prevent pipes from freezing.  It’s also helpful to open cabinet doors around pipes to help warm air circulate.  In addition to kitchen and bathroom cabinets, be sure to open cabinets in laundry rooms, wet bars, and other areas of the house where pipes are located.
  • Remember that outside water faucets can freeze and cause damage, too. Unhook water hoses and store them inside for the winter.  Faucets can be covered with insulated sleeves or jackets, or you can consider installing a frost-proof faucet.
  • Keep your thermostat set at 55 degrees or above during cold weather months, even if you’re away from home.
  • Keep your garage door closed to help protect pipes in that area and to provide another layer of protection from wind and cold for your home.
  •  Winterize swimming pools and automatic sprinkler systems.
  • Pay attention if you notice low water pressure in any faucets, which could be an early sign that pipes are beginning to freeze.

It’s a good idea to know where the water shutoff valves for your home are located. If a pipe bursts, you’ll be able to stop the water flow as quickly as possible if you don’t have to waste valuable time searching for them.  You should also be familiar with your homeowner’s insurance and know what kind of coverage and deductible you have should your home sustain water damage from broken pipes.  Taking the right preventative measures will hopefully help you avoid frozen pipe problems, but being prepared just in case is always a good idea.