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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Prevent Winter Pipe Freezing

Prevent Winter Pipe Freezing

Background Frozen Pipe

Winter Pipe

One of the serious threats of winter's cold temperatures is frozen pipes.

When water freezes, it expands - this can cause pipes to break. The most susceptible pipes are those exposed to the severe cold of the outdoors:

  • Water supply lines
  • Swimming pool lines
  • Sprinkler lines

You also have to protect pipes in unheated areas of the house:

  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces
  • Attics
  • Garages
  • Any pipes that are close to exterior walls with little or no insulation are in danger of freezing... even those inside kitchen cabinets
Fall Chores For Water Pipe Protection Fall Chores For Water Pipe Protection
  • Drain water from lines

  • Drain and store removable hoses

  • Close inside valves - open the outside valves to drain the lines and allow any remaining water to expand without damaging the pipe

  • Insulate any pipes near non-insulated walls

  • Install insulating sleeves, heat tape or heat cables to exposed pipes

  • Tape any slight cracks in pipes before they become breaks

  • PDF Icon Download our Winter Energy Tips for more Fall home preparation to help you reduce cold-weather energy costs
Going On Vactiong? Protect Your Home From The Freeze Going On Vactiong? Protect Your Home From The Freeze
  • Turn off the water main where it enters the house

  • Drain the water from your plumbing system.

    • Starting at the top floor of the house, open all taps, and flush the toilets several times
    • Go to the basement and open the drain valve
    • Drain your hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank drain valve and running it to the basement floor drain
  • Unhook your washing machine hoses and drain them

  • Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping

  • If you can't turn off the water, turn on a couple of taps to a slow drip to keep water moving and maintain a temperature above 13 degrees Celsius in the house
Take Action In Extreme Cold Weather Take Action In Extreme Cold Weather
  • Keep your garage door closed if there are water pipes inside the garage

  • Open your kitchen cabinet doors to let heat circulate around the water pipes

  • Run the taps at a slight trickle or drip to keep the water moving in the pipes and prevent freezing

  • Keep your thermostat at a steady temperature - dropping the household heat during the night is a great way to save energy and money but should be suspended during the coldest temperatures

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