12 Steps to Protect Your Home During a Freeze

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

How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing:

  1. Insulate Pipes: Do your best 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 reachable. Use snap-on foam insulation and double check that 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.
  2. Heat Pipes: Consider protecting problematic pipes with UL-approved heat tape* made with a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Follow the instructions that come with heat tape closely to keep from posing a fire hazard.
  3. Sprinkler System: Shut off your sprinkler system, and if you can shoot 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 releases built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Put single-lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip, and pay close 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 warm, 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 generate ice if the ice maker water line sits underneath the house.
  7. Cabinets: Open cabinet doors underneath sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are sitting on exterior walls, to allow interior heat to warm the pipes.
  8. Garage: Keep garage door shut during particularly cold weather.
  9. Foundation: For houses that have a crawl space, ensure the foundation is totally enclosed, and that any gaps in foundation walls are sealed with caulking or expanding foam. If the foundation vents are underneath the house, try to either close them or cover them up during extreme cold weather.
  10. Garden Hose: Unhook and drain garden hoses.
  11. Exterior Faucets: To secure exterior faucets near 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.
  12. Check for Leaks: Once the weather warms up, shut off any dripping faucets as well as the ice maker, then monitor the water meter for any unseen leaks.