Before Cold Weather Strikes
- Insulate any exposed pipes in your home's crawl spaces, attic, and outside walls. Common insulation materials include heat tape and foam tubing which can be purchased at your local home improvement store. The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
- Seal leaks that allow cold air inside your home near exposed pipes.
- Disconnect any garden hoses and drain outdoor pipes. Turn the supply valve off and cover the exposed pipe(s) and faucet(s) with insulation.
When Freezing Temps Are Predicted
- Since moving water will not freeze, allow a steady drip of cold water to flow from the highest faucet in your home. Using cold water will save you money on your energy bill.
- Keep your thermostat at the same temperature both day and night, so that pipes stay warm as the outside temperature dips overnight.
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach exposed pipes under sinks.
Before Going Out of Town
- Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it may be deactivated when you shut off the water.
- Set your thermostat no lower than 55°F (12°C).
- Have a friend or neighbor check on your home daily.
If Your Pipes Do Freeze
- Turn your water off at the private water shut-off valve.
- Never try to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame or any electrical appliance. It's dangerous and could damage your pipes.
- Be prepared for possible leaks as the pipes thaw.
Finding Your Private Shut-off Valve
The location of the shut-off valve varies, but all buildings less than 25 years old have one. Likely locations for the private shut-off valve include:
- Close to an outside hose bib, where the water supply pipe enters your home. The valve will be located inside a box or pipe in the ground, several feet from the exterior of your home.
- Near your water heater or under a vanity cabinet or kitchen sink, particularly if you live in a townhouse, condominium or apartment.
- On the wall in your garage, particularly in newer homes.