December 2006
Prepare Your Water Pipes

for Freezing Temps

Our Top Five Tips to Weatherize for Winter

Freezing temperatures. Whether you love them or hate them, there's one thing everyone can agree on: You don't want to worry about your pipes freezing this winter. Even more, you don't want to worry about your pipes bursting if they do freeze. That's why we've compiled a list of our top five tips for weathering your water pipes. Follow these tips to rest easily during freezing weather.

  1. Insulate your pipes in basements, crawl spaces and attics with pipe wrap. Don't forget to also insulate your water heater. This will save you money on energy costs.
  2. Water heater
    Water pipes should be insulated, as above, with pipe wrap. Insulate the water heater as well to save money.
    In freezing conditions, allow just a trickle of cold water to drip from an indoor faucet. Moving water won't freeze as quickly.
  3. Open doors in kitchens, bathrooms and sink cabinets to allow more heat to reach plumbing during freezing temperatures.
  4. If you have a shut-off valve for outside faucets, turn it off first and then drain pipes by turning on all outside faucets. For in-ground sprinklers, check the manufacturer's instructions. If you do not have shutoffs, cover outdoor spigots and disconnect water hoses.
  5. If your house is on a foundation with a crawl space, close the vents under the house.

Of course, there's no guarantee that your pipes won't freeze. If they do freeze, turn on your faucets and leave them on. Do not try to thaw a pipe with an open flame—call a plumber instead. If possible, do not use heat tape, as it can be a fire hazard. If your pipes burst, shut off water to prevent more damage, note the damages and call your insurance company. Most of all, be careful to avoid electrical shock. If the rupture is near an electrical outlet or device, turn off the breaker.