Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Blog

DIY tips to prevent frozen pipes

On a cold winter’s night, nothing feels better than curling up tight in your bed. Let the wind howl and let the snow fall, right? Wrapped in blankets you’re warm and you’re safe. Except maybe you aren’t so safe. Because cold, windy nights put your home at risk for frozen pipes and eventually the disaster of burst pipes—carrying a several thousand dollar price tag!

Every year we meet with dozens of homeowners whose frozen pipes burst and caused catastrophic home damage. Distraught, they always ask us: what could we have done differently?

That’s why we put together this at-home list of DIY tips to prevent frozen pipes.

Follow these at-home tips to prevent frozen pipes—for real peace-of-mind. On the next cold night, you can curl up and feel safe, because you’ve got this.

Frozen Pipes and Burst Pipes

When the temperature drops to below freezing water freezes. Like rain turns to snow, and like water turns to ice.

The standing water in your water pipes can also turn to ice — if the weather gets cold enough.

Steps of Freezing Pipes

Step 1: Pipe freezes


Step 2: The ice exerts pressure until the pipe bursts.


Step 3: When thawed, hundreds of gallons of water pours from the burst pipe.


When hundreds of gallons of water pour from your pipes destroying your floor and creating the possibility for mold growth.

Tips To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Your goal as a homeowner who doesn’t want to spend several thousand dollars or in water damage repair and plumbing repair is to prevent the pipes from freezing entirely.

Let’s do this.

Tip #1 Insulate Any Water Pipes You Can — Any Way You Can.

Simple and to the point. Since, you don’t want your pipes to freeze, keep them warm by insulating them. You can use formal pipe insulation or just newspaper.

insulate to prevent frozen pipes
Official hardware store pipe insulation.
Prevent frozen pipes with newspaper insulation.
In a pinch pipe insulation— also known as newspaper.

Tip #2 Use Heat Tape Around Your Pipes.

Heat tape is an electrical mechanism that wraps around your pipes to provide heat when its needed most. Every time the temperature around the pipes goes below a certain temperature, the tape will provide extra heat to prevent the pipes freezing and bursting.


Tip #3 Set Your Thermostat Smart—Especially if You Have a Pre-Set Programmable Thermostat.

Programmable thermostats, which allow you to pre-set temperatures are a great way to reduce your winter energy bills. But during a freezing, frozen pipe kind of night, the last thing you want to do is lower your temperature.

Settingyour thermostat can help prevent frozen pipes.

Make sure you keep your temperature high, when the temperature drops below freezing. Even if you spend a few extra dollars on energy, it’s a lot better than the thousands of dollar damage of a burst pipe.

Learn about getting 100% thermostat control with a WIFI thermostat from One Hour Air.

Tip #4 Leave Open Cabinet Doors.

Your cabinets are one of the best way to access the majority of your water pipes— without tearing apart the walls.

Strange as it might sound, closing your cabinet doors cuts your pipes off from room temperature air. Essentially, it’s like sealing them in a refrigerator.

We did an unscientific study to test check the difference in temperature between cabinet doors open and closed.

Check out the temperature difference with the doors closed vs open.

Open: 61 degrees Fahrenheit

Closed: 52 degrees Fahrenheit

Those 9 degrees could make impact on extremely cold days.

Tip #5 Schedule a Furnace or Boiler Tuneup.

Keeping your home temperature consistent is a main theme of preventing frozen pipes. Makes sense.

You know what dramatically drops your home temperature? When your furnace or boiler dies in the middle of winter.


Keeping your heat on prevents frozen pipes.

If its been a while since you had it looked at, schedule a heating system tuneup. We know a great HVAC expert.

Tip #6 Let the Faucets Trickle

Ever hear the adage “a rolling stone gathers no moss”— same principle. Keeping the water in your pipes moving helps prevents the freezing process. Sure you’ll spend a few pennies in wasted tap water but that’s a whole lot better than spending thousands cleaning up from a burst pipe.

Drip your faucet to prevent frozen pipes.

What To Do If My Pipes Freeze?

ets say the worst happens: your water simply won’t flow and you know your pipes are frozen. The wind howls. The snow falls. You’ll shiver, out of bed. You know that you’re pipes are frozen.
If that’s the case, you don’t have a moment to waste. Every minute, your water pipes stay frozen, pressure in the pipe builds, bringing you closer to them bursting, spilling hundreds of gallons of water all throughout your house. Call us immediately, call your insurance company, and then start moving the valuables outside house.

Although we hope these frozen pipe prevention tips allow you to keep safe this winter, our expert plumbers are always on call. Whether you need help to thaw a frozen pipe before it bursts or you need help limiting the damage of burst pipes, we can help.

Contact us for heat tape installation, frozen pipes and for all of your plumbing needs.

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