As temperatures continue to drop rapidly all over the country, people aren’t the only things that need help keeping warm. Having a pipe burst from freezing is never a cheap or easy problem to deal with, but luckily there are several things you can do to prevent it. With an early dose of winter, there is less time to prepare your home for the colder temperatures, so it’s important to be vigilant in ensuring your pipes don’t freeze. Here are a few environmentally-conscious tips:

  • Disconnect all outdoor gardening hoses and put covers on your outdoor faucets.
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from your home to circulate and reach the pipes.
  • Wrap pipes near exterior walls and in crawl spaces with heating tape or pipe insulation to prevent freezing.
  • Close all windows near pipes, such as in the basement.
  • Cover or close open-air vents to prevent wind drafts from contributing to the freezing of pipes.
  • Weather seal all of your windows to keep it nice and warm inside. Some safety directors suggest keeping your home at around 68 degrees or warmer during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Insulate unheated areas of your home or apartment.

According to experts, the first sign your pipes are freezing over is lower water pressure. Be diligent in monitoring your home’s water pressure by taking note of it before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning. When water freezes, it expands which causes huge issues for pipes. If they don’t burst, the ice acts as a plug and causes pressure between the frozen section and closed faucet. Insulate your pipes with insulation sleeves or have a professional do it. You can also apply temporary seals to your foundation vents and air inlets, sealing any cracks or holes with caulk.

In the event that your pipes do freeze, don’t hesitate to call in a specialist to help you prevent them from bursting. Public Safety Director in Kentucky Paul Maynard says, “This time of year when frozen pipes get involved, people do the wrong thing and that could cause fires. We always like to tell everybody if you can try and find somebody who does this professionally and have a plumber come look at it. That way you don’t get a bigger mess or even more damage to your home.”

Basically, take whatever precautions are necessary to insulate your home from the cold, and when in doubt, call in a specialist.