7 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Winter can bring many issues due to plummeting temperatures. You could be confined to your house, experience a hike in your utility bills, and last but not least, water may start freezing in the pipes. The issue of water freezing in the pipelines does not come alone; it accompanies the risk of burst pipes and property damage.

Property damage caused due to burst pipes is one of the most frequently reported issues in the winter, further causing water damage, structural issues, and more. Basement, attic, garage, clusia hedges, and other unheated areas of the house are most prone to damage due to freezing pipes where most piping networks are installed in these places. Moreover, exposed pipes in your sprinkler, swimming pool waterline, or those running around the house’s exterior are at greater risk of freezing and bursting because of the low outside temperature.

Frozen pipes occur because water expands when it freezes. For this reason, you’ll often experience soda cans exploding when left in the freezing temperature for too long. The same goes for water; when it expands inside the pipe, it is short of space; hence, it pushes against the pipe’s walls and bursts as a result.

Frozen pipes are common in places experiencing extreme cold, but it is not an issue that cannot be prevented. By making minor changes, you can avoid this damage. One of the ways to do so is to keep the garage door closed if you have an exposed supply line in that area. This work-around will lock the heat inside the space and prevent freezing.

To know more about frozen pipes and ways to prevent them, continue reading till the end.

Insulate the pipes

It is better to be prepared than take reactive measures once the problem has already happened. To avoid frozen pipes, insulate the pipes with pipe insulation before the winter comes. The pipe insulation is easily available and reasonably cheap compared to the cost of mending a bust pipe and accompanying property damage. When insulating your house’s pipeline system, focus more on the pipelines moving through the unheated areas of the house. Most commonly found pipe insulation is made from fiberglass, foam, or other material possessing good insulation properties. Also, heating tape is another way to keep the indoor pipes warm, which acts like an electric blanket for your pipes. For outdoor pipelines, it might not be very effective.

Layer Up Insulation On Pipes on the Exterior Walls

The outside of the house is, more often than not, colder than the interior section. Therefore, pipes running through the house’s exterior can freeze more quickly than even the unheated areas of the house. To prevent frozen pipes on the exterior walls, adding an extra layer of insulation on them is better.

Program Your Thermostat

During the winter, set your thermostat to keep the house’s temperature at a comfortable level throughout the day and night. While, like many of the other homeowners, you might be tempted to save some money on your heating bill by lowering the thermostat, it can become more expensive in the long run. The pipes are more prone to freezing when there is a sudden change in the temperature. The minimum temperature in all the parts of your house should be 65 degrees Fahrenheit to avert the water from freezing inside the pipes. On the other hand, if you have an outhouse or a guest house attached to your main living space and is not being used during the winter, it is better to turn off the main supply and drain the pipes to avoid uncalled-for damage.

Open the Cabinets Occasionally

During the cold months of winter, make it your habit to periodically open all the cabinets in the kitchen and the bathroom to allow the warm air to circulate the plumbing. The warm air prevents ice blockages and a surge in water pressure in the pipes. It is particularly helpful when you have a forecast of a frigid night. However, make sure to remove all the cleaning agents and toxic chemicals from the cabinets and keep your children and pets safe.

Let a Faucet Drip

You can prevent freezing pipes by letting one or more faucets drip water. You don’t have to leave all the faucets, which beyond doubt is a wastage; keep only the ones that are connected to exposed pipes or those coming from an unheated area. Running water carries more energy than standing water because moving water molecules cause friction, creating a small amount of heat energy and preventing the water from freezing inside the pipes. By keeping a few faucets running, you can avoid the buildup of ice blockages and release pressure in your plumbing system. To prevent water wastage, you can use buckets to collect this water and use it for house cleaning or other purposes.

Seals the Holes and Cracks

The water system runs behind the walls; therefore, any hole or crack can create a duct for cold air to reach the piping system or else soon you will be replacing your bathtub. You must check the walls, doors, and windows in the house for any holes or crack and close these openings before the start of the winter. Most homeowners tend to forget about the holes created for cables such as Wi-Fi, cable wires, and television, providing an easy passage for cold air. Particularly, inspect the pipes in the interior and exterior of the house and check the presence of any holes. This way, cold air does not penetrate the unexposed piping network.

Leave the heating system

If you plan to leave your house for a long time, keeping the heating system on is better. It might seem an imprudent decision causing wastage. Still, the cost of leaving your heating system is much less when compared to the expense of repairing a burst pipe or more serious issues like water damage and structural problems.


As the temperature plummets, the issue of burst pipes due to water freezing inside them can become a severe problem. A bigger challenge is that burst pipes can translate into water damage due to water leakage inside the walls or other structural and foundational issues. Therefore, it is always better to be prepared than wait for a problem. By taking measures such as insulating the pipes in the unheated and exposed areas, keeping your thermostat at a steady temperature, and sealing the holes and cracks in the wall, you can significantly reduce the issue of frozen pipes and the accompanying water damage.

If you like these tips or have anything extra to add, please comment in the comments section below.

Diego Martinez

Diego Martinez, with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, has been a leading figure in maintenance and facilities management for 16 years. He joined our editorial team in 2020, sharing his expertise in preventative maintenance, system optimization, and energy efficiency. Diego’s previous roles include engineering manager in manufacturing and consulting for facility management. He has provided practical advice and problem-solving strategies for maintenance issues. He is an enthusiastic cyclist and volunteers in community tech education programs.

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