Preventing Frozen Pipes This Winter

Repairing a frozen pipe can be both messy and expensive. Regardless of location, all pipes have the potential to freeze over during the winter. The Insurance Center recommends the following preventative actions to protect your pipes. 

To prevent your water lines from freezing, here are some safety tips we recommend: 

  • If you have a swimming pool or a water sprinkler, drain the water from your supply lines. Unless otherwise directed, do not put antifreeze into these lines. 
  • Do not forget your outdoor hoses. Close any indoor valves that supply outdoor hose spigots. To make sure that they are drained, keep your outdoor hose spigots open. This will allow any remaining water to expand without breaking the pipe. 
  • Check around your home for any lines located in unheated areas. Both hot and cold water lines in these areas should be properly insulated.
  • Seal any gaps to keep cold air away from your pipes.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing materials such as “heat tape” or a “heat cable”. 
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open. This will allow for warm air to circulate through the system.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature throughout the entire day. 
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • If you are home, allow your indoor faucets to drip slowly.

If you turn on your faucet and nothing comes out or if water slowly trickles out, chances are that the water in your pipes is frozen. Pipes are most likely to freeze near exterior walls or where your water service enters through the foundation. Before you call a professional, here are some possible steps you can take to thaw a pipe: 

  • Only attempt to thaw out a pipe if it has not burst. 
  • Keep your faucet open while you are attempting to thaw a pipe. As the pipe begins to melt, frozen water will travel through it. 
  • Use either an electrical heating pad or a hair dryer when applying heat to a pipe. Do not use any open flame devices such as a blowtorch or a propane heater. 

If these attempts are not successful or if the pipe has already burst, do not take additional action. Turn off your main water valve and call a licensed professional.

The Insurance Center coordinates with several restoration companies throughout the region. In the event of a frozen pipe or any other winter damage, we can help you get in touch with them. For additional information, please visit Our Companies – The Insurance Center (