Cold Weather Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

Prepare before the weather gets cold:

  • Eliminate sources of cold air in crawlspaces or other locations by adding insulation and blocking openings to the outside air.

  • Insulate any water pipes that may be exposed to cold air or drafts.

  • Consult a professional regarding insulating difficult pipes or selecting and applying heat tape to water pipes.

  • Locate and check your water shut-off valve – this will save time in the event of an emergency. In many instances, the shut-off valve may be located in a basement, crawlspace or outside near the water meter.

  • Be sure that the main shut-off valve in the building is functioning properly.  Test the valve’s function frequently.

  • Disconnect any garden hoses and drain outside water faucets.  Frozen garden hoses can lead to frozen pipes indoors.

  • For outside water meters, keep the meter box lid closed tightly.

  • Contact a plumbing or maintenance professional if you have any questions about protecting your pipes during cold weather.


When temperatures fall below freezing:

  • Leave a trickle of water running from faucets – the slow movement of water will help to prevent freezing of water in the line.

  • Ensure any insulation or heat tape is in place and functioning properly.

  • Keep the thermostat set at above 55 degrees if the building will be un-occupied.

  • Open sink cabinet doors to allow warm air into the area where water pipes may be located.

  • Keep garage doors closed, as water pipes are often routed through this area.

  • If you think your water pipes have frozen, shut off the water immediately and contact a plumbing or maintenance professional.