Defend Against Frozen Pipes

When temperatures drop, these tips can help prevent burst pipes.

Icicles hanging from a pipe

There are simple, affordable actions homeowners can take to help reduce costly damage and lengthy repairs to their home after a winter weather event. For example, colder temperatures can lead to frozen pipes, which could burst, causing a cascade of damage.

These recommendations can prevent pipes from freezing and causing damage to your home:

  • Look for exposed pipes and vents around your home and insulate them before temperatures dip below freezing.
  • Caulk and seal exterior windows and doors. 
  • Add weatherstripping as needed around doors and windows, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.
  • Set your thermostat to at least 55°F. 
  • Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if the temperature inside dips below 55°.
  • Provide backup power, such as a generator, to maintain heat in your home in case of a power outage.
    After a winter storm, professional services like HVAC or plumbing repair may be unavailable. Be sure maintenance of your alternative heat source is up to date before the storm.
  • Keep cabinet doors with pipes inside open so warm air can circulate around harder-to-reach pipes. Also, keep bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open during cold spells.
  • Let faucets drip during extreme cold weather. 
  • Temporarily cover or close crawl space vents.

For more ways to prevent damage from winter weather, check out the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s free Winter Weather Ready guide at

Read more of our tips and ideas in the Homeowner Resources section.

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This Old House

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