Protect Your Home from Freezing Water Pipes

The most common pipes to freeze are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and underground irrigation lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation

There are ways to protect your water pipes and prevent them from freezing:

  • Drain the water from swimming pools and underground irrigation systems.
  • Disconnect any outside hoses from the water source. Close the valves inside your home that supply the water to the outside valve.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces to help maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check other areas where water lines could be that are unheated such as your garage, under the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both the hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. There are specific products you can install that are made to insulate water pipes.
  • Consider having a licensed plumber relocating the exposed pipes to a more insulated and protected area of your home.
  • If you have water lines in your garage, keep the doors closed.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air into the cabinet.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, turn on a faucet served by the exposed pipes. Letting water run through the pipe, even at a trickle, may help prevent pipes from freezing.
  • If you are leaving your home during the winter, be sure to winterize your home. You can drain your water lines by hiring a licensed plumber and shut off the water to your home. If you choose to leave the water on, make sure your heat is set to no lower than 55 degrees F.

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle or no water comes out, you likely have a frozen water pipe. Here are some ways to thaw frozen pipes:

  • Keep the faucet open as you treat the frozen pipe. As the frozen water begins to melt, water will flow through the pipe. Running water will help melt the ice in the water line.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe you suspect is frozen. You can use an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer, a portable space heater, or by wrapping the pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Keep heat applied to the water line until full water pressure is restored. If you cannot locate the frozen area, it is not accessible, or you just cannot get the pipe to thaw, you should contact a licensed plumber.