How to Protect Water Pipes During Cold Weather

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

By A. E. Hurt

Frozen water pipes is an annual problem that comes with the cold weather. However, with advanced preparation, you can avoid the problem of pipes freezing and bursting. This process is commonly called winterizing and, once accomplished, should be checked and updated every year.


  1. Locate any holes in house where cold air might leak in. Insulate or seal these holes accordingly.

    Detect drafts using something that will react to moving air, recommends using a stick of incense, to check for moving air around windows, doors, and places where pipes or wires enter the house. If the smoke moves horizontally away from the opening, air is coming in and the area should be sealed. For small areas, sealant should be applied from the outside of the house. For larger ones, foam insulation is recommended. Both can be purchased at a hardware store.

  2. Insulate all accessible piping to slow heat loss.

    Buy the pre-slit insulation made for use with pipes and fit it over the pipe to be insulated. Be aware that pipes and insulation come in different sizes and buy the appropriate size for the pipes you are trying to insulate. Trim the insulation for length, if necessary, with the utility knife. Most insulation now has self-sealing seams, but duct tape the points where the insulation joins to prevent gaps.

  3. Drip faucets to relieve pressure build up.

    Do this with any faucet that is fed by a pipe going through an area where the temperature is likely to drop (house exterior, garage, attic, etc); not necessarily every faucet in the house.