How to Keep Pipes from Freezing

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How to Keep Pipes from Freezing


As temperatures drop, the risk of pipes freezing becomes a common concern for homeowners. At, we understand the importance of safeguarding your plumbing against the winter chill. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with practical tips and step-by-step instructions on how to keep your pipes from freezing, ensuring a smooth winter without any plumbing mishaps.

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Quick Answer

Preventing pipes from freezing is important, especially in cold climates, to avoid potential damage and costly repairs. Here are some tips to help keep your pipes from freezing:

Insulate Pipes:

  • Insulate exposed pipes, especially those in unheated areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Use pipe insulation sleeves, heat tape, or heat cables.
  • Pay particular attention to pipes located near exterior walls, as they are more susceptible to freezing.

Seal Leaks:

  • Seal any gaps or cracks in walls and foundations to prevent cold air from entering and reaching the pipes.

Maintain Adequate Heat:

  • Keep the temperature in your home above freezing, even if you’re away. If you leave for an extended period, set the thermostat to a minimum of 55°F (12°C).

Open Cabinet Doors:

  • In areas where pipes are located inside cabinets (under sinks, for example), keep the cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.

Allow Faucets to Drip:

  • Allow faucets connected to vulnerable pipes to drip slowly. Running water, even at a trickle, can help prevent pipes from freezing. This is especially useful during extremely cold nights.

Disconnect Hoses:

  • Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor faucets and keep the outside valve open, allowing any remaining water to drain.

Heat Tape or Cable:

  • Install heat tape or cables on susceptible pipes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure safe and effective use.

Use a Space Heater:

  • If you have an area with pipes that are prone to freezing, consider using a space heater to provide additional warmth. However, be cautious and follow safety guidelines.

Winterize Vacant Properties:

  • If you have a vacant property, take extra precautions to winterize it. Drain the plumbing system, shut off the water supply, and consider adding antifreeze to the pipes.

Insulate Attic and Crawl Spaces:

  • Properly insulate and ventilate attics and crawl spaces to maintain a more consistent temperature around pipes.

Remember that prevention is key, and taking these measures before the onset of extremely cold weather can help you avoid the inconvenience and potential damage associated with frozen pipes. If you suspect that your pipes are frozen, it’s essential to thaw them carefully to prevent bursting. If you’re unsure or unable to address the issue, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

Understanding the Risks

Before delving into preventive measures, it’s crucial to understand why pipes freeze in the first place. When water inside the pipes freezes, it expands, leading to potential cracks or bursts. This can result in extensive damage and costly repairs. To prevent such issues, let’s explore effective strategies to keep your pipes protected.

Insulation Is Key

Insulating your pipes is one of the most effective ways to keep them from freezing. Identify vulnerable areas, such as exposed pipes in basements, crawl spaces, or attics, and wrap them with insulation material. This simple step acts as a barrier, preventing heat loss and maintaining a consistent temperature.

Seal Gaps and Cracks

Cold air can easily find its way into your home through gaps and cracks. Perform a thorough inspection of your property and seal any gaps or cracks near pipes with caulking or weatherstripping. This not only keeps the cold out but also contributes to energy efficiency.

Keep a Consistent Temperature

Maintaining a consistent temperature within your home is crucial to preventing frozen pipes. Set your thermostat to a minimum of 55°F (13°C), even when you’re away. This ensures that your pipes stay warm enough to resist freezing. Don’t forget about unoccupied spaces, such as guest rooms or storage areas.

Drip Faucets During Cold Spells

When temperatures plummet, consider allowing faucets to drip slowly. This small, continuous flow of water can prevent pipes from freezing, as moving water is less likely to freeze than stagnant water. Focus on faucets connected to pipes running along exterior walls or in unheated areas.

Heating Tape for Extra Protection

Heating tape is a valuable tool in your arsenal against frozen pipes. Wrap it around vulnerable pipes, and it will provide a constant source of heat. Ensure the tape is properly installed and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent any safety hazards.

Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Hoses

Before winter sets in, disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Stagnant water can freeze inside the hose and extend into the connected pipes, causing damage. Storing hoses indoors during the winter months is an additional measure to ensure they remain in good condition.

Attic Insulation Matters

An often-overlooked area is the attic, where cold air can infiltrate and affect nearby pipes. Properly insulate your attic to maintain a warmer environment, reducing the risk of freezing pipes. This not only safeguards your plumbing but also contributes to overall energy efficiency.

Monitor Unheated Spaces

If your property includes unheated spaces, such as a garage or a shed, take extra precautions. Consider adding insulation to these areas or using space heaters to maintain a reasonable temperature. Inspect pipes in these spaces regularly, and address any issues promptly.

Professional Inspection

Before winter arrives, consider hiring a professional plumber for a thorough inspection of your plumbing system. They can identify potential vulnerabilities, address existing concerns, and provide valuable advice on winterizing your pipes effectively.


In conclusion, protecting your pipes from freezing is essential for a hassle-free winter. By insulating, sealing gaps, maintaining a consistent temperature, and utilizing heating tape when necessary, you can ensure the longevity of your plumbing system. Don’t forget the importance of proactive measures like disconnecting outdoor hoses and regular professional inspections. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-equipped to face the winter season confidently, with your pipes safeguarded against the chilling temperatures.

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