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9 Ways to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter

by Nevie Sessoms, Owner One Stop Plumbing

When the temperature drops, it’s important to know how to prevent your pipes from freezing, cracking, and bursting. Burst pipes can flood your home and cause damage. No matter if you are home or going out of town, it’s important to protect your plumbing when the temperature is at or below freezing.

To prevent a disaster, we’ve put together the 9 Ways to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter.

#1: It’s important to have Your Faucets Trickling Water

If the temperature is going to be at or below freezing, the goal is to leave your faucet trickling enough to keep the water flowing. This acts as a relief valve because frozen pipes can build up a lot of pressure. Keep an eye, though, on your faucets. All you need is a slow trickle because too much water going down the drain can also cause the drainpipe to freeze. Make sure to turn off the water when the temperature is above freezing. That trickle and increase in water usage are worth it to prevent a pipe from cracking, bursting, and flooding your home.

Ice formed on a pipe on the Winterize your Home blog

#2: Open Cabinet Doors under your sinks to Let the Warm Air from the House Circulate

By opening the doors, you let the warm air from your home circulate around the pipes. They are more vulnerable to freezing if the doors are closed where the heat can’t reach them. You can also use a fan to circulate the warm air.

#3: Insulate and Cover Your Outside Faucets to keep them from Freezing

These are the most vulnerable because they don’t have the benefit of the warm air inside your home. Covering and insulating the faucet helps prevent any heat loss and protects against the outside elements.

#4: Add Heat Tape to Your Pipes

Heat tape works by sensing the pipe’s temperature. It comes with a thermostat that will turn the heat on and off. Because a warm pipe doesn’t freeze, heat tape is a great option to keep your pipes from freezing.

#5: Disconnect Your Garden Water Hoses

Garden hoses filled with water can become a popsicle in the winter! Any water left in the hose will freeze. To make matters worse, the water pipe can crack if the ice in the hose backs up into the pipe. That’s why it’s important to unhook, drain and store your garden hoses for the winter.

Green hose wrapped around a fence post unhooked to show how to winterize your home

#6: Consider Installing Frost-Free Hose Bibs

What makes these different and a good idea for winterizing your home’s pipes? Because frost-free hose bibs are inside the wall and are installed at a downward angle, gravity drains the water from the pipes when it’s turned off. Leaving little to no water in the pipes that can freeze.

#7: Seal Cracks and Spaces where Pipes and Wires come into Your Home

Anywhere there is a crack or space around pipes, cables, and wires, it allows cold air to come into your home. The cold air can cause problems, especially around your pipes. It leaves them vulnerable to freezing. You can insulate around these areas to protect your pipes and keep the warm air inside your home. There are products available like expandable foam and caulk that can help insulate.

#8: Insulate and Heat Your Pipes to keep them from Freezing

In addition to sealing cracks, you can insulate your pipes. This is especially important for those pipes that are not in the heated areas of your home like your garage, attic, and crawl space. It’s best to use both insulation and a heat cable. It heats the pipe and keeps the warm air on the pipe.

#9: Use Your Main Water Shut Off Valve

And finally, shut off your water at its main source if you are leaving town. Frozen and cracked pipes with a build-up of pressure can mean a plumbing disaster. And you won’t be home to know it’s happening. No one wants to come home to that! It’s best to shut off your water at the main valve. Most main water valves can be found outside the home or near the curb at the street. You should always know where it is located.


We hope you have found our tips helpful. At One Stop Plumbing, we want to help you avoid freezing and cracking your pipes. If you do need our services, just give us a call! Drip. Drip. Drop. Call One Stop! (757) 321-8874 

Nevie Sessons is the owner of One Stop Plumbing. As a locally owned and operated company, Nevie built the company from the ground up starting in 2005. He is a Master Plumber licensed by the Virginia Department of Professional Occupation and Regulation (DPOR), and he is a Master Gas Fitter.

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