Frozen pipes are a leading source of property damage during severe winter weather. Homeowners and business owners can follow these recommendations to reduce their risk of damage. These recommendations can be especially important for seasonal homes, like cabins and cottages, that aren’t lived in year round.

  • Seal openings. Seal all windows, doors and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating the wall cavity.
  • Seal cracks and penetrations. Seal all wall cracks and penetrations, including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduit and other utility service lines.
  • Insulate and seal attic. Insulate and seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electric and mechanical chases.
  • Insulate recessed light fixtures. Insulate recessed light fixtures in the ceiling to reduce heat entering the attic. Look for visible light inside the attic. If present, insulate or seal. If the space above a suspended ceiling is conditioned, there is no need for added insulation or sealing.
  • Run faucets. Let all faucets drip during extremely cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet.
  • Install a monitoring system. Put in a monitoring system that provides notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a pre-determined number. Never set your thermostat below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Insulate pipes. Protect pipes most vulnerable to freezing by using pipe insulation.
  • Install an automatic excess flow switch.  Put in an automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve. Use wireless sensors near water sources.
  • Monitor sprinkler systems. Monitor sprinkler systems using a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure and heat unheated sprinkler control rooms.
  • Provide backup power. Maintain a reliable backup power source, such as a stand-by generator, to ensure continuous power and heat to the structure.


[SOURCE: Auto-Owners Insurance]