Easy Ways to Avoid Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are more than a nuisance. A frozen pipe can burst and lead to water damage, leaving you without water until it’s repaired. Here’s how you can keep the water flowing safely in your home.

Frozen Pipes outside big Photo by: Shutterstock

Protect exposed pipes.
Any pipes in unheated spaces, like a garage or crawlspace, could be at risk. Look around your home for exposed pipes and cover them with pipe insulation. Be sure to keep doors closed to keep those spaces as warm as possible.

Consider heat tape.
A variety of flexible electric heating tape and cable products are available that can be wrapped around pipes underneath the insulation. These provide an added measure of security to stop pipes from freezing and are particularly useful in very cold climates. You can also use a reflector heat lamp to keep unheated spaces warm.

Drip, drip, drip.
When water is flowing, it freezes more slowly. By leaving a faucet open at a slow trickle, you can help keep your water supply pipe from freezing. This is very helpful if your power or heat goes out.

Disconnect hoses, drain supply lines and switch off valves.
If you have a pool or sprinkler system, you should prepare for cold weather by cutting off the water supply and draining all the water from the system. If there’s no water in the pipes, there’s nothing to freeze. This goes for your garden hose, as well. Remember to cover your hose spigot, too.

If a pipe does freeze, proceed with caution.
The first thing to do if you discover that you’ve got a frozen pipe is to switch off your home’s main water supply, if you can. If you can identify the frozen pipe, you can try to thaw it gently by heating the area around the ice with a hairdryer set on low, or with a heat lamp. If you notice water coming from the pipe as it thaws, stop what you’re doing and call a plumber immediately.

If your pipes freeze repeatedly, move them.
Some pipes have chronic freezing problems and cannot be effectively insulated or heated. If a pipe freezes over and over again, contact a plumber and ask about rerouting it through a warmer space.

Should you find yourself with other plumbing-related problems, a Home Warranty Plan from Learn about the different coverage options.

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