Learning Center

Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Is your home prepared for winter?

ice covered garden hose

If you live in a region where the temperatures drop below freezing, here are some tips to help protect your home during cold spells.

Keep freezing pipes from bursting

Frozen water in pipes causes pressure to build and could result in the pipes bursting at their weakest point.

Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to this concern, especially when they're subjected to extra cold air coming through utility line holes.

Follow these tips to help keep your pipes from freezing:

  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping. The more insulation the better.
  • Use caulking to seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and turn off the water supply to spigots.
  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, especially in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space. (If your house is going to be vacant during a cold spell, consider draining your water system.)

Protect your roof from ice dams

When your home's heat melts snow, water runs to the edge of your roof (where the temperature is cooler) and freezes. Over time, this ice can build up, preventing drainage and forcing water into your attic or walls.

How can you avoid ice dams, or at least reduce their impact?

  • Keep your attic well ventilated. The cooler the attic, the less melting and refreezing on your roof.
  • Keep your attic floor well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within your house.
  • If possible, eliminate recessed lighting near your roof. Heat generated from such lighting melts snow, which then contributes to ice dam buildup.

Caution: We do not advise going onto a roof yourself to correct an ice dam problem.

These recommendations were developed using generally accepted safety standards. Compliance with these recommendations is not a guarantee that you will be in conformance with any building code, federal, state or local regulation regarding safety or fire. Compliance with these recommendations does not ensure the absolute safety of your occupation, business or residence. It is the property owner’s duty to warn any tenants or occupants of the property of any safety hazards that may exist.

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