As more below freezing temperatures roll into our area, as it did this Christmas, it’s vital that you know how to prevent pipes from freezing. When water freezes in your pipes, whether due to quick drops in outside temperatures, poor insulation or your thermostat is set too low, its volume expands and puts pressure on the pipe from inside. This can cause a burst pipe, but even a small crack or two can be the start of some widespread and expensive water damage.

There are number of steps you can can take when learning how to keep pipes from freezing in the first place.

  • For any outdoor faucets with cut-off valves, be sure they are closed and faucets are drained. You can also protect them by using faucet covers throughout the winter months.
  • Keep your thermostat on 55 to 60 if you’re going on vacation, and if you have a trusted neighbor or relative that lives close by, have them check the home periodically if you’re gone for a long period of time.
  • Insulate pipes located in the attic and crawl space using pipe insulation, even if the climate where you live does not often have hard freeze conditions. You can also wrap pipes in heat tape or heat cables with a thermostat control. The best pipe insulation for your situation will depend on your home. Always install according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Seal or caulk any cracks that might let in cold air, especially places where pipes run from inside to outside the home, such as dryer vents or water pipes.
  • Preventing frozen pipes should be done outdoors as well. As you winterize your home, disconnect your garden hoses.
  • If cold weather settles in and you notice temperatures beginning to drop, start a small drip of both hot water and cold water in the kitchen, bath, laundry areas and any other faucets in the home. A small water drip is all that is needed to keep water moving through the system and prevent frozen pipes.

Sometimes the simplest measures like just turning off all exterior water lines such as spigots, can avoid major water damage issues. Instead of waiting for temperatures to plummet, turn these lines off once it’s too cold to use them, and thusly this will decrease your chances dramatically from having a flood in your home.