How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Simple tips and tricks you can implement to avoid frozen pipes this winter.

As the temperatures start to get colder, it's important to take the necessary precautions to prevent frozen pipes within your unit. Even tiny openings can cause pipes to freeze. Below is a list of some quick and easy things you can do to prevent frozen pipes this winter:
  • Seal leaks in the basement foundation where cold air may enter and stuff any holes with insulation. Be sure to check for open windows, air vents, and wind drafts near water pipes.
  • For any water pipes that run through unheated spaces, allow a slow trickle of water to flow through the faucet.
  • Keep sink cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Whenever possible, insulate pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • It's important to locate the water shut-off valve and know how to shut off the water. If a pipe bursts, shutting off the water quickly can minimize the damage.
In the event that a pipe does freeze, use a hairdryer to thaw the lines safely. You should never use an open flame to thaw pipes. While not the quickest, the hairdryer method is the safest.

When pipes are frozen, there is often water available in at least one faucet. If there is no water coming through any of your taps, there may be a problem in your street or yard. In this instance, you should call the Boston Water and Sewer Commission's 24-hour emergency line at 617.989.7000.