12 Steps to Protect Your Home During a Freeze

With temperatures under 32°, you're going to want to ensure your home is protected from the elements. Keeping your pipes from freezing is actually relatively simple and you will be happy that you did. Frozen pipes can cost thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. We’ve listed our 12 simple and cost-effective steps to securing your home’s safety this winter.


  1. Insulate Pipes: Do your best to insulate all hot and cold water pipes within the crawl spaces under your house as well as in the attic, and exterior walls if they are reachable. Use snap-on foam insulation and make sure foam insulation seals tightly without gaps. Apply duct tape to joints in insulation, and miter foam around elbows, so joints in pipes are 100% covered.
  2. Heat Pipes: Try protecting problematic pipes with UL-approved heat tape* with a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Adhere to the instructions that come with heat tape responsibly to keep from causing a fire hazard.
  3. Sprinkler System: Shut off your sprinkler system, and if you are able to, shoot compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.
  4. Drip Faucets: Drip both hot and cold water at faucets in the kitchen and bathroom. This not only maintains water moving through the pipes but alleviates built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Set single-lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip, and pay particular attention to pipes running inside-outside walls.
  5. Laundry Room: If there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room to drip, set your washing machine on a mode with warm water, and start the filling cycle several times for a few minutes to move water through the pipes.
  6. Ice maker: Set your ice maker to generate ice if the ice maker water line is beneath the house.
  7. Cabinets: Open cabinet doors beneath sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are sitting on exterior walls, to allow surrounding heat to warm the pipes.
  8. Garage: Keep garage door shut during severely cold weather.
  9. Foundation: For houses built with a crawl space, be sure the foundation is entirely covered, and that any gaps in foundation walls are sealed with caulking or expanding foam. If the foundation vents are beneath the house, try to either close them or cover them up during extremely cold weather.
  10. Garden Hose: Separate and drain garden hoses.
  11. Exterior Faucets: To maintain exterior faucets around your foundation, either enclose faucets with insulated foam covers, shut off water to exterior faucets and open faucets to drain pipes, or install exterior faucets that cut water supply off inside foundation walls.
  12. Check for Leaks: Once the weather warms up, turn off any dripping faucets as well as the ice maker, then check the water meter for any hidden leaks.