How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

From pipe insulation to heating cables, learn how to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Follow our step-by-step guide and you’ll have peace of mind during winter, while you’re on vacation, and during extreme cold weather.


Skill
Beginner
Time
One Day
Cost
Less Than $500

What You Need for This Project

Preventative Action

  1. 1

    Drain Pipes & Hoses

    • Drain water from lines. 
    • Drain and store removable hoses. 
    • Close inside valves, then open the outside valves to drain the lines and allow any remaining water to expand without damaging the pipe. 
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Insulate Pipes & Tape Cracks

    • Measure the length of the pipes you want to insulate.  
    • Using a mitre box, cut the insulating sleeves to the lengths needed.  
    • Use tape or heating wire to secure the sleeves to the pipe.  
    • Tape any slight cracks you notice in the pipes before they become breaks.  
  2. Steps:

Protect Your Home While on Vacation

  1. 1

    Drain the Water from Your Plumbing System

    • Turn off the water main where it enters the house. 
    • Open all taps and flush the toilets several times. 
    • 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.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Check for Leaks

    • Inspect pipes under sinks and water heaters, and seals around windows for any cracks or leaks.  
    • Re-caulk seals and repair leaks if needed.
  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Clean Debris from Rain Gutters

    Using an auger, clean any debris from rain gutters and downspouts.  
  2. Steps:

Protect Your Home in Extreme Cold Weather

  1. 1

    Keep the Cold Out & Let the Heat In

    • Keep your garage door closed if there are water pipes inside the garage. 
    • Open your kitchen cabinet doors to let heat from inside the home circulate around the water pipes.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Keep the Water Moving

    Run the taps at a slight trickle or drip to keep the water moving in the pipes and prevent freezing. 
  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Keep the House Temperature Consistent

    • Set your thermostat at a steady temperature at around 20 to 25 degrees. 
    • Dropping the temperature during the night is a great way to save energy and money but is not a good idea during extreme cold weather.
  2. Steps:

How To Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.


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