There are a number of steps you can take when learning how to keep pipes from freezing in the first place:
- 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 thermostat control. The best pipe insulation for your situation will depend on your home. Always install according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Use a “pipe sleeve” or similar insulating material on exposed water pipes. Newspapers can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even one-fourth inch of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
- 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.
- For any outdoor faucets with cut-off valves, be sure they are closed and the faucets are drained. You can also protect them by using faucet covers throughout the winter months.
- 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.
- Be sure to alert a trusted neighbor if you’ll be away more than a few days, and ask them to check periodically to make sure that the measures you have taken in preventing frozen pipes worked and that nothing has ruptured.