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.

Dealing with Frozen Plumbing

When your precautions fail and your pipes are frozen, try these tips to get water moving again. 

  • Pipes can be thawed with warm air from a hair dryer.  Warm the pipe as close to the faucet as possible.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water and do not try to thaw with an open flame.
  • If your efforts are unsuccessful, faucets should be left on and a plumber should be called.



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