Winter Safety Tips: How to Protect Your Home from Pipe-Freeze Damage

The cold winter weather that can cause water mains to break also can cause home water meters to fail and pipes to freeze and burst. Here are some tips to help you avoid trouble.

Dripping tap

  • Insulate pipes and faucets in unheated areas
    Wrap pipes in areas such as cold crawl spaces under the house using wrapping materials available at hardware or building supply stores.
  • Seal cracks to the outside
    Make sure openings, including broken basement windows, are repaired to keep winter winds out.
  • Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses
    Detaching the hose will let water drain from the pipe, reducing the chance of a pipe bursting.
  • Allow a thin steam of water to flow from the tap
    A small flow of water running from a faucet can help prevent lines from freezing during cold spells.
  • Know the location of the shutoff valve
    The master shut-off can turn off the water if a pipe bursts anywhere in the house.
  • Take precautions while away from home
    Turn off the water and drain the outside faucets or leave the thermostat set above 65 degrees to ensure pipes do not freeze if you are going to be away several days.
  • Thaw pipes as soon as possible
    Apply heat to the area that needs to be thawed using a portable heater, heating blanket or hair dryer. Never use an open flame to thaw frozen pipes.

Winter Safety Tips Series

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The Cleveland Police Foundation, in partnership with the Cleveland Division of Police and the Ohio Crime Prevention Association present these tips so citizens can help to make our community safer. 


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