Frozen pipes are a common issue in cold climates, and they can lead to significant damage, including burst pipes and costly repairs. Here are five essential tips to help you prevent your pipes from freezing during the cold winter months.

1. Keep the Heat On

If you plan to be away from home for an extended period during the winter, make sure to leave the heat on. The temperature should be set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat will help ensure that the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, stays warm enough to prevent freezing.

2. Allow Faucet Dripping

Allow a small trickle of water to drip from faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. The flowing water can prevent ice from forming within the pipes. It’s especially important to do this during extremely cold spells when the risk of freezing is highest.

3. Insulate Pipes

Insulate your pipes, particularly those in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and garages, as well as those that run along exterior walls. Use specific products designed for pipe insulation, such as foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves. Proper insulation can keep the pipes warm and prevent the water inside from freezing.

4. Seal Leaks

Inspect your home for any leaks or drafts near your pipes, especially where they enter your home. Use caulk or insulation to seal any gaps that could let in cold air, paying special attention to areas around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Reducing exposure to cold air can significantly decrease the risk of frozen pipes.

5. Keep Interior Doors and Cabinet Doors Open

During cold snaps, keep interior doors and cabinet doors open to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom. This is especially useful if your sinks are on an exterior wall. If your thermostat is set to heat the home evenly, allowing air to circulate freely will help maintain a consistent temperature throughout the house.

Conclusion

Preventing frozen pipes is crucial to avoiding water damage and costly repairs. By following these five essential tips—keeping the heat on, allowing faucets to drip, insulating pipes, sealing leaks, and keeping doors open—you can protect your home during the coldest parts of the year. If you’re unsure about how to best protect your home, consider consulting with a professional plumber who can offer advice specific to your home’s layout and location.