10 Tips for Protecting Your Home from Frozen Pipes

Are you planning the perfect winter getaway to sun sand and warm beaches? Great! Before you hop on the plane, be sure to get your home ready for your absence.

Beyond the usual precautions (stopping mail, turning on home security, boarding pets, etc…) Have you thought about your pipes? It might seem silly, but burst pipes are one of the most common home disasters to happen in the winter. Not to mention the risk for burst pipes goes up significantly for homeowners who leave on vacation.

If you don’t think your home is at risk for frozen pipes, remember this: Pipes burst when the water inside freezes and then expands, causing a break or crack in the pipe. This means any pipe that carries water can be a risk to freeze, then burst. For example, these are the kinds of pipes that freeze most frequently.

  • Exterior pipes with little to no insulation.
  • Pipes exposed to severe cold (swimming pool and lawn sprinkler supply lines).
  • Water pipes in unheated interior areas. (basements, bathroom cabinets, attics, crawl spaces).

Frozen Pipe Prevention

Ideally, prevention of frozen pipes should start in the autumn, when you are preparing your home for winter. However, it is important to note that taking as many prevention steps as possible before you leave for vacation in the winter greatly reduces the risk of burst pipes. In other words, even if you can’t relocate pipes in the winter, you can set your heat properly before you leave.

  • Leave the heat on in your home; set the temperature to 55 F.
  • Keep garage door’s closed. Often garages have a water supply line running through them.
  • Open bathroom and kitchen cabinets to allow the warm air to circulate.
  • All outdoor hoses should be drained and stored inside.
  • Inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs should be closed and outside hose bibs should be open. This allows any excess water to drain out.
  • Swimming pools and sprinklers should be drained of water.
  • Let a small drip of water come from faucets for pipes that are at risk of freezing.
  • Turn off the main water valve. If you are away from your home for an extended time period, this will limit breaks and water to whatever is in the pipe.
  • Seal air leaks near pipes. Even a small amount of cold air can freeze a pipe over time.
  • Invest in a temporary patch kit from your local hardware store. 

If you’ve taken these precautions, then you’ve reduced the risk of frozen pipes significantly. Even so, if you plan to be away for more than 2 weeks, it is wise to ask a trusted family member or close friend to check the exterior of your house for any sign of frozen or burst pipes. 

Still have questions about frozen pipes?

Get in touch with ServiceMaster by Ayotte, we have answers!


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