Freezing Weather Preparation and Damage Prevention Tips
■ Caulk and weather-strip all doors and windows to reduce any wind drafts.
■ Install vinyl replacement windows or cover windows with plastic film from the inside during freezing weather.
■ Detach all garden hoses from the hose bibs and shut-off water supply to outside faucets if you can.
■ Keep the heat on in the house, even if you're leaving the house for an extended period of time.
■ Open cabinet doors on outside walls below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
■ Install faucet covers on all external faucets, if you do not have regular covers use a towel and wrap around the faucet to protect it.
■ Know where your main water valve is and make sure you can easily turn it on and off in case it becomes necessary.
■ Wrap pipes near exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape.
■ Keep garage doors closed to help eliminate drafts in the attached house.
■ Should your power go out disconnect your electrical appliances to avoid damage from power surges, which can occur once the power is restored.
■ If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut the water off to the home.
Monitor Freezing Pipe Conditions
■ The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.
■ Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.
■ Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces.
■ These tend to be vulnerable to freezing conditions.
■ Identify cold air drafts coming in from a flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes.
If a Pipe Freezes
■ If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water.)
■ To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.
■ When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.
If a Pipe Bursts
■ Shut off water at the main valve.
■ If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
■ Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.