With temperatures colder than 32°, you're going to have to ensure your home is insulated from the elements. Stopping your pipes from freezing is actually surprisingly simple and you will be glad 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 securing your home’s safety this winter.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR PIPES FROM FREEZING:
- Insulate Pipes: Attempt to insulate all hot and cold water pipes inside 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 make sure foam insulation seals tightly without gaps. Apply duct tape to joints in insulation, and miter foam around elbows, so joints in pipes are completely covered.
- Heat Pipes: Think about wrapping problematic pipes with UL-approved heat tape* with built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Adhere to the instructions that come with heat tape responsibly to keep from posing a fire hazard.
- Sprinkler System: Switch off your sprinkler system, and if you can blow compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.
- Drip Faucets: Drip both hot and cold water using 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. Put single-lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip, and pay close attention to pipes running within outside walls.
- 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 intermittently for a few minutes to send water through the pipes.
- Ice maker: Set your ice maker to produce ice if the ice maker water line sits underneath the house.
- Cabinets: Open cabinet doors underneath sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are located on exterior walls, to allow indoor heat to warm the pipes.
- Garage: Keep garage door down during severely cold weather.
- Foundation: For houses with a crawl space, ensure the foundation is entirely covered, and that any gaps in foundation walls are filled in 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.
- Garden Hose: Separate and drain garden hoses.
- Exterior Faucets: To secure exterior faucets around your foundation, either wrap faucets with insulated foam covers, cut off water to outside faucets and open faucets to drain pipes, or install exterior faucets that cut water supply off inside foundation walls.
- Check for Leaks: Once the weather has warmed up, switch off any dripping faucets as well as the ice maker, then check the water meter for any unseen leaks.