Tips to Help Prevent Freezing Pipes

Cold weather and wind chills increase the chance for homes and businesses to experience frozen water pipes and water damage.  Exposed areas of piping that are not insulated, as well as areas of piping not exposed to building heat, are more susceptible to freezing due to the extent of cold weather and frost in the ground.  Below are some problem areas, warning signs and tips to help minimize the chance of freezing water pipes.


  • Pipes near broken or open basement windows
  • Unheated crawl spaces and equipment rooms
  • Cold basements or inadequately heated basements
  • Pipes near the foundation or cracks in the basement wall
  • Pipes near exterior walls in unheated rooms
  • Inadequate heating in uninsulated or uncovered outside pits
  • Pipes under kitchen sinks or cupboards


  • Unusually cold water temperature (less than 35° F) at a fixture
  • Unusually low water flow at a fixture
  • Discolored water at a fixture


  • Make sure there is adequate heating and monitor the temps in basements, crawl spaces, cabinets with plumbing on exterior walls, pits or other rooms where the water meter and water service lateral enters the residence or building
  • Increase temps when needed by adding fans, heat lamps or small space heaters
  • Double check to make sure any heating cables or tape used on pipes is actually working (CAUTION: heat tape can cause fires, and cannot be used near flammable materials. Heat cables are only a temporary solution)
  • Add more insulation to pipes that may be an issue
  • Leave cabinet doors open and place a small space heater or fan nearby to blow and circulate warm air
  • Seal up gaps or cracks in the foundation or basement wall