12 Steps to Protect Your Home During a Freeze

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With temperatures under 32°, you're going to have to be sure your home is protected from the elements. Keeping your pipes from freezing is actually fairly simple and you will be relieved that you did. Frozen pipes can burn through thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. We’ve listed 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: 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 100% covered.
  2. Heat Pipes: Try protecting problematic pipes with UL-approved heat tape* with built-in thermostat to stop overheating. Stick to the instructions that come with heat tape responsibly 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 using faucets in kitchen and bathroom. This not only keeps water moving through the pipes, but alleviates built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Set single-lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip, and pay particular attention to pipes running inside outside walls.
  5. Laundry Room: If there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room to drip, set your washing machine on warm water, and start the fill cycle several times for a few minutes to run water through the pipes.
  6. Ice maker: Set your ice maker to make ice if the ice maker water line is beneath the house.
  7. Cabinets: Open cabinet doors under sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are placed on exterior walls, to allow surrounding heat to warm the pipes.
  8. Garage: Keep garage door shut during severe cold weather.
  9. Foundation: For houses with a crawl space, make sure the foundation is totally protected, and that any gaps in foundation walls are filled in 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: Detatch and drain garden hoses.
  11. Exterior Faucets: To maintain exterior faucets near your foundation, either wrap 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.