Frozen Pipe Prevention
Turn up the heat! Set the thermostat to the same temperature day and night. If you live in an old house built over an uninsulated crawl space turning up your thermostat will increase the air temperature in the crawlspace by projecting heat energy through the floor into the space. Plan on insulating and air sealing the space.
Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around plumbing. It’s not unusual for plumbing running to a kitchen sink on an exterior wall to be extremely vulnerable because the wall is not insulated. Open the cabinet doors along that wall to project heat into the space.
Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
You can keep unprotected pipes above freezing by simply placing an electric heater near them. Remember, the goal is not to make the space toasty warm and comfortable. It’s to keep the water in the pipe above freezing. Remember to never leave a space heater unattended.
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes.
If you have an attached garage, keep the doors shut. Wind and cold air drafts increase the likelihood of a frozen pipe.
Turn off the water. In the worst case, turn off the main water valve while the house is unoccupied (such as a vacation home) or while you sleep. If a pipe freezes and breaks, the spillage is limited only to the water in the pipe. If you are going away, shut off the water supply line to your washing machine.
Drain and shut off all outside spigots.
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