Preventing Frozen Pipes

This winter has been a long, cold one for all of us here in West Virginia. Snow, ice and subzero temperatures continue to present challenges while traveling, as well as at home.

Many homeowners have learned first hand about the problems associated with frozen water pipes. When the water in a pipe freezes, it can explode and cause significant damage to the interior of your home. Pipes that run along exterior walls and in attics and crawl spaces are the most vulnerable.

But, by taking a few precautions, you can eliminate or at least reduce the likelihood of your pipes freezing. To keep your pipes free of ice and freezing water, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommends the following:


  • Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing. Some home security systems will even alert you if the temperature in your home drops below 55 degrees.
  • Place insulation sleeves over exposed pipes to slow heat transfer.
  • Consider providing a reliable back-up power source, such as a generator, to ensure continuous power.
  • Drain pipes if your house will be unattended during cold periods.
  • Recessed light fixtures in the ceiling below open areas, such as attic space, should be insulated to prevent the release of heat into the attic.
  • Ensure proper seals are on doors and windows.
  • Shut off the water to the exterior water bib on the inside.

If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. Know how to shut off the water. The more quickly you can turn off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage, please contact us.  We're here to help.