Nine Tips to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing
frozen pipe

“Just put a sweater on!” If I had a dime for every time I heard that as a kid. We all have that person in our life who refuses to turn on the heat until Thanksgiving or dials it down when heading off on a winter vacation. Perhaps you are that person! Unfortunately, failing to keep a home adequately heated can have unintended consequences on your plumbing system.

Below are nine go-to tips to help prevent your pipes from freezing:

1. Adequately heat your home by keeping your thermostat at a minimum of 65 degrees to prevent frozen pipes. This setting allows for the natural fluctuations that will occur as warm air moves from area to area. Use 65 in all zones; not just zones being occupied regularly.

  1. Maximize airflow. Keeping doors and cupboards open will help warm air circulate. Be sure to check your vents and registers.
  1. Add insulation to accessible plumbing lines and turn off water lines that feed exterior hose bibs.
  1. Maintain your heating system. Have a licensed heating (and cooling) contractor inspect your system annually to ensure the system performs both reliably and efficiently.
  1. If away from your home for extended periods of time, consider turning off the main water supply and draining the pipes. Plumbing systems are complex, so discuss this option with a licensed plumber.
  1. Leverage technology. Consider adding a smart thermostat and installing a smart automatic water shut-off valve.
  1. If you reside in a condo or apartment, consider adding point-of-leak smart water sensors. Many sensors on the market also have low temperature-sensing capabilities, which monitor ambient temperature, and alert you when it drops.
  1. Beware of cold snaps. The particularly disruptive time for a pipe freeze is after a cold snap, when pipe temperatures start to warm, a ruptured pipe begin to thaw, and water starts to flow.
  1. Make sure every member of your household knows where your main water shut-off valve is! Exercise your valve annually to ensure reliable operation. If a pipe freeze happens to you, immediately turn off that main water valve and call your plumber!

There are plenty of sweater-appropriate activities involving frozen water: ice skating, ice fishing, clear ice for cocktails.  Unwanted frozen water, by comparison, can leave a wake of destruction and disruption. The tips above will help keep your relationship with water toasty warm! 

For more helpful resources on water loss prevention, visit

Terese Shelledy is a Senior Risk Consultant and Property Protection Specialist at Chubb Personal Risk Services.

The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.