Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes


Temperatures below freezing can cause pipes in your home to leak due to expanded, frozen water within. Use the tips below to avoid indoor flooding and other dangers.

When it drops below freezing, you should protect indoor sink pipes that are against exterior walls by opening under-sink cabinet doors to allow indoor heat to circulate.

During severe cold temperatures allow one indoor faucet to slowly drip cold water. Select the faucet that is the farthest from your front door. Do not leave water running in unoccupied buildings. Set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees day or night, even if you are away.

• Know where your shutoffs are. If an emergency occurs, you’ll need to know how to shut off water at main valves.
• Protect water pipes from freezing in exposed or unheated areas (attics, basements and garages) by wrapping them with tape and insulating materials from hardware stores. Follow manufacturers’ installation instructions.
• Drain and remove all outdoor hoses.
• Caulk around pipes where they enter the house and close all foundation vents to minimize cold wind from blowing into your house. Pipes exposed to drafts from open foundation vents are most at risk of freezing or splitting during cold weather. Close off these vents by sliding cut pieces of wood or Styrofoam into the vent openings (open the vents again in the spring to prevent dry rot).
• If you have a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets, now is the time to shut it off. Then go outside and turn on all faucets to drain the water out of the pipes.
• If you don’t have a separate shut-off valve, wrap outside faucets or hose bibs (if you choose, foam insulated covers are available for about $3 at hardware stores).
• Shut off and drain in-ground sprinkler systems. Follow manufacturer’ instructions.

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