12 Steps to Protect Your Home During a Freeze

With temperatures below 32°, you're going to have to make sure your home is protected from the elements. Preventing your pipes from freezing is actually surprisingly simple and you will be relieved that you did. Frozen pipes can cause thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. We’ve provided our 12 simple and cost-effective steps to securing your home’s safety this winter.


  1. Insulate Pipes: Try 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 ensure foam insulation sits tightly without gaps. Apply duct tape to joints in insulation, and miter foam around elbows, so joints in pipes are totally covered.
  2. Heat Pipes: Try covering problematic pipes with UL-approved heat tape* made with a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Stick to the instructions that come with heat tape responsibly to keep from being a fire hazard.
  3. Sprinkler System: Turn off your sprinkler system, and if you are able to, send compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.
  4. Drip Faucets: Drip both hot and cold water from faucets in kitchen and bathroom. This not only makes sure of water moving through the pipes, but eases built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Use single-lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip, and pay specific attention to pipes running in outside walls.
  5. Laundry Room: If there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room to drip, set your washing machine on warm water, and start the fill cycle intermittently for a few minutes to move water through the pipes.
  6. Ice maker: Set your ice maker to produce ice if the ice maker water line rests beneath the house.
  7. Cabinets: Open cabinet doors under sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are sitting on exterior walls, to allow interior heat to warm the pipes.
  8. Garage: Keep garage door shut during extreme cold weather.
  9. Foundation: For houses built with a crawl space, make sure the foundation is entirely covered, and that any gaps in foundation walls are filled in with caulking or expanding foam. If the foundation vents are underneath the house, try to either close them or cover them up during extreme cold weather.
  10. Garden Hose: Unhook and drain garden hoses.
  11. Exterior Faucets: To protect exterior faucets near your foundation, either enclose faucets with insulated foam covers, shut off water to outdoor 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 is warmer, switch off any dripping faucets as well as the ice maker, then check the water meter for any unseen leaks.