Preventing Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can cause a big mess and cost you a bunch of money! As temperatures drop, follow these tips to prevent pipes freezing and bursting.

  • If you are leaving for the night or for a few days, set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F. Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • You may also shut off and drain the water system by turning the water off at your meter. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it will be deactivated when you shut off the water.
  • Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas. Wrap pipes before temperatures drop with approved materials. Pipe wrapping materials can be found at hardware and building supply stores.
  • Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks. Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes.
  • Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Disconnecting hoses allows water to drain and helps prevent freezing.
  • If your pipes have frozen and you are at home, open a faucet and wait until water begins flowing again. Listen for leaks—water expands when it freezes, which can cause leaks in pipes. If you discover a leak, turn off the water supply to your home at the main shut-off valve and contact a plumber.
  • Leaving a pencil-lead-thin stream of water flowing from faucets coming from pipes in unheated areas or against exterior walls may prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keeping the cabinet doors open to allow more home heat to reach the pipes may also help prevent freezing for pipes underneath sinks and in cabinets.

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