Skip to main content
Get $200 Off Gutter Helmet Today!*


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When the temperature drops and stays well below freezing, pipes often freeze. This can cause everything from a minor inconvenience to a major home disaster if the pipes burst. Water is unique in that when it freezes, it expands, which is what causes pipes to burst. Exterior pipes and interior pipes run on outside walls are most susceptible to freezing, so here are eight things you can do to help prevent this problem.

1. Open Up Cabinets

If your kitchen or bathroom sink are on an outside wall, or if your home sits on a crawl space, keep the cabinet doors open. By opening your cabinets, you’ll let warm air from the home circulate around the pipes, which will help prevent them from freezing.

2. Keep the Temperature Above 55°F

Many homeowners turn their heat down at night or during the day when they’re at work to save money. Keeping the heat above 55°F is advised. Even if you’re gone on a vacation, you may want to keep the heat up and cabinets open.

3. Allow Faucets to Drip

Every home is different, but usually if you can figure out which faucet is farthest from your water heater and turn on the hot water just enough so that the faucet drips, you’ll keep enough warmth in the pipes to prevent them from freezing. If you can’t determine which faucet is farthest, let any sink on an outside wall drip.

4. Keep Interior Doors Open

Often, we close the doors to little-used rooms such as the laundry room or mudroom. In winter, you should keep interior doors open to allow the heat from the home to circulate. If you know that a closet has pipes in the wall, keep that door open too.

5. Add Insulation

Adding insulation in the walls where your pipes run can help prevent freezing. If you opt for blown-in insulation, you may only have to cut a small hole in the wall to blow the insulation into the wall cavity, rather than removing drywall to add insulation.

6. Caulk Holes

Inspect your home’s exterior and caulk any holes you find. Even if the holes aren’t near pipes, they are letting cold air into your home. Next, check inside, especially in the cabinets under your sinks. You may find that cold air is rushing in and a little caulk can stop it.

7. Remove Exterior Hoses and Cover Faucets

Don’t forget about your exterior pipes. A hose that has water in it can freeze and cause a pipe inside your home to burst. Remove hoses, turn off the exterior water if possible, and drain the hose bib. If you can’t turn off the water and drain it, cover the faucet with an insulative cover available at your local home improvement store.

8. Install a Pipe Sleeve or Heat Tape

If your pipes are in a crawl space or basement, there are two solutions that may help. First is a pipe sleeve. It looks like a pool noodle and goes around the pipe to insulate it. If that still doesn’t solve your problem, you may need to install heat tape or a heat cable to gently warm your pipes during winter months.

Get Innovative Protection From Ice Dams

Your pipes aren’t the only things that freeze and cause damage to your home in the winter. Whether you have gutter caps or just open gutters, ice dams can form and cause your gutters to sag or even collapse from the added weight. If this is an issue for your home, evaluate the home gutter systems offered by your local gutter installer. Be sure to ask about Gutter Helmet® with Helmet Heat®, two systems which can help reduce the formation of ice dams. To learn more about Gutter Helmet and Helmet Heat, call (800) 824-3772.