How to Avoid Frozen Water Pipes , 7 Simple Tips

how to avoid freezing pipes As Fall draws to a close you should be thinking about the coming winter, along with the colder temperatures. Is your home ready for the first frost? You can learn how to avoid frozen water pipes before it’s too late. A little common sense and planning will go a long way in protecting your home from water damage.

Over a quarter of a million homes will experience frozen pipes each winter. Not only are frozen pipes expensive to repair, your home and contents will likely become damaged. In a matter of minutes even a small cracked pipe can release over 200 gallons of water. As you can see a burst pipe inside a wall or crawlspace that goes undetected can do major damage to your home.

Why you don’t need frozen Pipes

Water damage may disrupt your life and wallet in ways you can’t imagine. Whether its water damage to your flooring or to drywall , a water leak can be an expensive repair.

Sub-zero temperatures and cold winds can wreak havoc on your water pipes because they are not protected. What can you do now to prepare for that first frost to ensure your pipes don’t freeze and burst this year?

Know where the main water shut off valve is to your home. This is because it will enable you to shut the water off to the house, should one of the pipes freeze and burst. The quicker you can get the water shut off, the less damage will be done. This will also give you time to call the plumber for help.

Determine where all the water pipes are located in your home. In most cases they will be in the crawl space, under your home or possibly in your attic. If your house is built on a concrete slab then most of the pipes will be contained in the concrete. In this case look for water pipes on any exterior walls. Once you’ve found exposed pipes, wrap them with insulation. The more insulation you can securely wrap around them, the less likely they are to freeze and possibly burst.

How to avoid water damage

  • In extreme cold temperatures you may also want to use thermostatically-controlled heat cables commonly called a heat tape . These can be wrapped around the exposed water pipes and plugged into an electrical outlet. Ensure heating cables are installed according to manufacturer’s instructions because failing to do so may cause a fire. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. independently tests and approves these cables, be sure to use only those which have been UL approved.
  • Take the time to seal up any air leaks around the pipes. Air leaks may be allowing the cold air into the area where the pipes are exposed. Check around any electrical wiring which comes through the walls, dryer vents and the water pipes themselves. Seal the openings using a flexible insulation, caulk or expandable spray foam insulation. By blocking as much air as possible you’ll reduce the likelihood of the water pipes freezing or bursting.
  • If your home has frost free exterior hose bibs, disconnect and remove all garden hoses which won’t be used during the winter. If your home is not equipped with frost free hose bibs, locate the shut off valve and shut it off. Remove your garden hoses and drain all the water from the faucet.


Quick tips to avoid freezing pipes

  • If you must leave an exterior faucet active for whatever reason, remove the garden hose between uses. You can also put an insulated cap over the faucet to keep it from freezing.
  • When the temperatures are expected to get below freezing, leave a trickle of hot and cold water running in at least one sink which is located on an exterior wall. This may be just enough to avoid causing damage due to freezing water pipes.
  • how to avoid frozen pipes Ensure that all cabinets on exterior walls that have un-insulated pipes inside them have the cabinet doors open. This will allow the warm air from the house to enter the cabinet and heat the water pipes. This should be enough heat to avoid the water pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat to your home set above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even if you’re not going to be home. If you are away from your home for an extended amount of time during the winter, ask a neighbor to check on your house. Having a family member or neighbor checking in can help in detecting any unforeseen problems.

If you have a vacation home you should have a Winter maintenance program in place. There are companies that you can hire for winterizing and property inspections on vacant properties. No one wants to experience a burst water pipe.  You’ll be well on your way to avoiding frozen pipes because of a little preventative house maintenance.

How to Avoid Frozen Water Pipes , 7 Simple Tips

If you have any questions or comments on this post , How to Avoid Frozen Water Pipes  , please leave a comment below . If you know of anyone who could find this information useful please give it a share or a PIN .

Thank you Rick  




7 thoughts on “How to Avoid Frozen Water Pipes , 7 Simple Tips”

  1. A great article Rick and I must tend to this very soon as it will be snowing and it will be freezing

    Having the heat tape sounds like a plan as I have never used this so will go purchase some and also leaving the cupboards open- what a great idea. I never thought of this so great share

    Enjoy the snow 🙂

  2. Superb share Rick, I know it’s already very cold where I am right now and before it gets any worse. I would really want to avoid any kind of damage to my pipes and I have found your article very informative. There are some great tips here that are affordable and easy to use.Many thanks, Kenny

  3. Wow I had no idea that pipes could burst from this, I simply thought they just stop working and that is it.
    Boy was I in the wrong. I also thought that HEAT expanded whilst the cold condensed.

    Is there anything else that could help with pipes that are, say deeper in your house?
    I have tons of pipes deeper in the house as well as underground, and I don’t think I can reach them, especially the ones underground. 

    Is my only hope to let the water run a bit and hope for the best while I sleep?
    I’ve had pipes freeze on me but usually not important ones like the bathroom sink or just the faucet outside. That is why I ask.

    Thanks for any info you can provide on that!

    • Hi Joe thanks for your comments ,not much you can do about pipes under your house if you have a concrete slab. They should be mostly insulated from the ground  , Leaving your taps run slightly overnight is about all you can do if freezing is a concern.

  4. Hi Rick! Yeah, this issue can disrupt our wallet in many ways! And these tips are golden. There are some that I had already heard about. But I must admit that there are others I hadn’t thought of, although they are quite simple. What you have said concerning leaving the cabinet doors open, sounds so easy to do, but it can also save us a lot of money. Thank you very much!

    • Thanks for your comments Henry , as they say a little bit of preventive maintenance can go a long way in protecting your house from unnecessary damage.

  5. Hey Rick

    Thanks for these helpful  tips to get the house ready for winter and using heat tape and covering pipes under the sink.Things as you say you do not want to put this off because if you do put this off the damage to your pipes could be very expensive to repair and could put a dent in your bill-fold.

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