12 Steps to Protect Your Home During a Freeze

With temperatures below 32°, you're going to have to ensure your home is safe from the elements. Stopping your pipes from freezing is actually surprisingly simple and you will be happy that you did. Frozen pipes can burn through thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. We’ve included our 12 simple and cost-effective steps to strengthening your home’s safety this winter.

How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing:

  1. Insulate Pipes: Attempt to insulate all hot and cold water pipes in 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 double check that foam insulation seals tightly without gaps. Apply duct tape to joints in insulation, and miter foam around elbows, so joints in pipes are 100% covered.
  2. Heat Pipes: Look into insulating problematic pipes with UL-approved heat tape* made with a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Adhere to the instructions that come with heat tape responsibly to keep from causing a fire hazard.
  3. Sprinkler System: Shut off your sprinkler system, and if possible send compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.
  4. Drip Faucets: Drip both hot and cold water from faucets in kitchen and bathroom. This not only makes sure of water moving through the pipes, but eases 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 specific attention to pipes running in outside walls.
  5. Laundry Room: If there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room to drip, set your washing machine on a mode with warm water, and start the fill cycle several times for a few minutes to move water through the pipes.
  6. Ice maker: Set your ice maker to make ice if the ice maker water line rests underneath the house.
  7. Cabinets: Open cabinet doors under sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are located on exterior walls, to allow interior heat to warm the pipes.
  8. Garage: Keep garage door closed during severely cold weather.
  9. Foundation: For houses that have a crawl space, be sure the foundation is entirely protected, and that any gaps in foundation walls are filled with caulking or expanding foam. If the foundation vents are beneath the house, try to either close them or cover them up during extreme cold weather.
  10. Garden Hose: Detatch and drain garden hoses.
  11. Exterior Faucets: To maintain exterior faucets near your foundation, either cover faucets with insulated foam covers, shut off water to outside faucets and open faucets to drain pipes, or install exterior faucets that cut water supply off inside foundation walls.
  12. Check for Leaks: Once the weather has warmed up, turn off any dripping faucets as well as the ice maker, then review the water meter for any unexpected leaks.