How To Prepare Your House for the Freeze

January 15, 2024

So, the winter freeze is here, and you haven’t prepared.  The storm will be bad and last for some time.  You are in a state of panic and can’t think of anything but the freezing temperatures. 

Here are some quick tasks to accomplish in preparing your house for the freeze.

prepare house for freeze

6 Freeze Protection Tips to Do NOW

1. Wrap Exposed Pipes Outside Your House.

The quickest and easiest way to protect pipes and hose bibs (faucets) outside of your house is to install commercially available pipe insulation and insulated hose bib covers.  If these products are no longer available, it’s time to improvise! 

Consider wrapping your pipes and hose bibs tightly with old bath towels and installing an outer layer of plastic sheeting to waterproof the insulation(towel).  Use durable, waterproof tape to secure the wrap. 

Bundled newspaper, paper towels, or similar paper products wrapped in waterproof tape over the hose bib may prove a reliable solution to protect the hose bib. 

The important thing to accomplish is to keep the cold temperature and wind away from the pipe and hose bib.

2. Waterproof Service Pipes and Walkways

As mentioned, wrap or drape plastic sheeting over water pipes, porches, and walkways to keep ice accumulation away. 

You may consider using a tarp to accomplish this task while keeping in mind that severely frozen porches and walkways can create a serious slip-and-fall condition.

3. Cover Plants

Tender vegetation may best be served by moving plants into climate-controlled environments such as your house or shed. 

If moving the plants is not possible, use plastic sheeting to cover plants and, if possible, install a light below the plant cover to supply heat to the plants.

4. Turn Off Water Valves to Exterior Water Services

If you have exterior water services like sinks, fountains, and basins, you may want to turn the water service off and drain the water lines.  This task could keep the water line from bursting.

5. Assemble Tools to Remove Frozen Rain and Ice

Gather tools such as shovels and scrapers and place them in a convenient location to manage the frozen environment. 

If possible, locate insulated gloves and boots to keep warm while tending to outside tasks.

6. Interior Preparation

Finally, store water for use inside your house and prepare for discontinued water service should the winter storm be severe.  Consider filling bathtubs with water to flush toilets and for use with personal hygiene.  Fill pitchers, carafes, or other containers with water for use in cooking and drinking.

Investing time in preparing for a winter freeze could prove invaluable in managing the inconvenience that is sure to come.  Even if you are short of time, get the outside water service pipes covered and water-proofed to minimize the possibility of pipes bursting, which could lead to discontinued water service to your house. 

Remember, plumbers will be busy repairing plumbing damage limiting the timely response to any problem you may have.  Burst pipes lead to discontinued water service so it is best to prepared!

At HOUSETIPS, our goal is to help homeowners understand how their home’s various components work and give them information about both common and uncommon problems that might happen. Please contact us if you have any questions!

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