Winter has the potential to cause significant damage to your home if you do not take certain necessary preventative steps. Everything from leaks to fallen trees to damaged siding, it can become expensive to cover the costs of repairs to your home. What about frozen pipes? Frozen pipes are one concern. What really causes heads to roll is if they burst! Here’s what you can and should do to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Insulation is probably one of your most effective ways to protecting your pipes from the possibility of freezing. When it comes to insulation, you have several options. First, you can wrap your pipes with a foam covering; Polyethylene is an effective material to use. Insulating your pipes is a good idea, even if your area is not often the host of hard freeze conditions. It is better to be safe than sorry. Apart from using foam coverings, you can also wrap your pipes in heat tape or heat cables using a thermostat control. Do not install any insulation without first reading the directions from the manufacturer.

Cold air has a tendency to sneak its way through cracks and crevices. It is important that you seal off these areas with a good caulk. This is especially important to do in areas where pipes run from inside to outside your home like dryer vents or water pipes.

If colder temperatures begin to settle in, an effective way of preventing your pipes from freezing is by maintaining a slight drip from your faucets in your kitchen, bath, and laundry room.

If you are going to be away from your home for any significant amount of time, it is best to inform a trusted neighbor so they have the chance to check-in on your home, reassuring you that no pipes have burst in your absence.

If you suspect frozen pipes in your home, turn on our faucets. If you only see a very gentle drip, you may have a frozen pipe. Inspect your water supply lines, paying attention to any really cold areas. Do this carefully, so you do not miss any areas that may have breakage. If, during your inspection, you see broken or burst pipes, call a professional plumber immediately.

If you want to thaw your frozen pipes, open the faucet of the particular pipe. The flow of water will help the water melt more quickly.

If you have pipes that are exposed, wrap them in a heated pad and turn the temperature up. Take a hair dryer, turn it to the high setting, and move the hot air back and forth around the pipe. Another way to combat frozen pipes is to wrap them in heated, wet towels. These would need to changed frequently because they tend to lose heat rapidly. Finally, place a space heater close to the area of the frozen pipe. Once the pipes are thawed and the water pressure returns to normal, you can remove it.