Frozen pipes can be a nightmare. As cold weather sets in, dropping temperatures can cause water to freeze in your pipes, creating pressure that may result in busted pipes and a flood of water.

Pipes that are most likely to freeze during a cold snap are outdoor plumbing fixtures connected to swimming pools and sprinklers, but indoor pipes can be affected as well. Risks associated with frozen pipes are not just confined to faucets and showers.

Plumbing used for sanitation systems can cause significant damage if they become blocked or frozen. Backed-up sewage can quickly become a significant health hazard as it flows into rooms on the lowest floor of a structure. As the next cold snap sets in, take these steps to protect your plumbing and keep the water flowing in your home.


Living in colder climates means you need to prepare for cold temperatures. Wrapping pipes in a layer of insulated tape or other insulating material will keep them from freezing when temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat tape is also an effective way to keep water flowing freely in cold weather. Wrap heat tape snugly around your pipes and plug it into an outlet to lightly warm pipes and keep ice from forming. Modern versions of heat tape have a thermostat that activates as temperatures drop, taking the guesswork out of plumbing protection.

Fix Leaks

Holes or cracks in a pipe or a wall can significantly increase the formation of frozen pipes. Have outdoor and exterior wall plumbing fixtures checked regularly to keep them in prime shape for winter. Fixing small defects before they become significant will reduce your chances of experiencing burst pipes.

Drain Outdoor Fixtures

Water that is allowed to sit in outdoor plumbing fixtures is almost sure to freeze as temps fall into the subzero zone. Draining outdoor pipes and appliances such as sprinklers and pools will prevent them from being damaged due to freezing water.

Disconnect Hoses

Just as you’ll need to drain plumbing and fixtures, you’ll need to drain and disconnect hoses to keep them from freezing and damaging an exterior wall.

Maintain Slow Drips

If you can justify the extra water usage, consider letting a faucet drip lightly to keep water flowing. This is a short-term solution to a problem that may help save you money on expensive repairs.

Turn Up the Heat

Paying a slightly higher heating bill will almost always be preferable to repairing burst pipes and fixing the resulting damage to walls and floors. Turn the thermostat up higher on cold nights, and if you are considering a vacation, set a timer twice daily to keep things warm when temperatures dip.

Open Cabinets

Pipes that reside under sinks, in exterior walls, and away from a heat source may be more prone to freezing than other plumbing fixtures. Leaving cabinet doors ajar for a short time allows heat to reach and circulate around these areas, preventing the pipes from freezing.

Close Garage Doors

Protect outdoor pipes and fixtures from the worst cold by keeping garage doors closed. This practice is particularly important overnight when temperatures dip.

Consider Freeze Alarms

Freeze alarms can monitor the temperature of your home, alerting you when temperatures pose a risk to your pipes. These alarms give you time to intervene and craft a plan for protecting your plumbing from further damage.

Timing Considerations

Choosing the right time for pipe maintenance will vary depending on where you live. Gauging temperature levels as they near freezing and preparing for service more than a few days prior to a cold snap will prevent any unexpected surprises that come with dropping temperatures. Those who live in northern climates should begin prepping pipes in October and November, while those who live in southern climates can wait a bit longer before taking preventative steps to protect plumbing. The further your temps drop below freezing, the more protection you’ll need to add to your system to keep it from freezing and potentially causing damage to your home.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Proudly serving Stroudsburg and the surrounding area for over 70 years, R.J. Groner Inc. is dedicated to providing your family with exceptional service and quality repair. Don’t be left out in the cold with frozen pipes this winter; our qualified, professional technicians will provide you with an assessment and preparation recommendations to keep you up and running all winter long. We also provide heating and cooling installation, maintenance and repair. Call R.J. Groner Inc. for your appointment today.

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