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How to Keep Water Pipes from Freezing in Winter

Homes with unheated basements or crawl spaces may be at risk for freezing water lines or for bursting of internal plumbing lines.  By following the actions below, you can minimize the risk of freezing or bursting pipes in your home.


  • Insulate your water pipes in unheated areas by wrapping with pipe insulation or blankets.
  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
  • Cut off water to exterior faucets and open faucets to drain pipes, or install exterior faucets that cut water supply off inside foundation walls.
  • Areas with exposed pipes should be heated or kept warm.
  • Open a tap and let the water run in a steady stream. Drip both hot and cold water at faucets in kitchen and bathrooms. This keeps water moving through the pipes, as well as relieves built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze. Set single lever faucets in the center so both hot and cold lines drip. Pay particular attention to pipes running in outside walls.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks in the kitchen and bath if the cabinets are located on exterior walls, to allow inside heat to pipes.


The amount of money invested in these precautions will be a fraction of the cost of repairing damaged lines.