Insulate Pipes and Faucets in Unheated Areas
Wrap pipes with pipe-insulating materials, which are available at home centers, hardware, and plumbing supply stores, or use insulation. Be sure to protect all pipes in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and garages.
Check Insulation Around Pipes Regularly
Today's energy-efficient furnaces do a great job of reducing wasted heat, which lowers heating costs and is better for the environment. However, that also means that they don't tend to warm up the air around them, so it's important to check that basement pipes are properly insulated.
Patch any Cracks and Holes in Doors, Windows, and Walls Near Pipes
When temperatures drop to near zero, a high wind blowing through a small opening can freeze a nearby pipe. Note: when patching these openings, do not block the air vents that your furnace needs for proper operation.
Look for and seal cold air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Use caulking to keep the cold air out and the heat in. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
Make Sure That Heat Can Circulate Around Pipes
Pipes that were built within an outside wall can freeze, especially when the wind-chill factor is well below zero and heat is not circulating through these areas.
Never Shut Off Your Heat
If you are planning to leave your home or business for an extended period and you don’t drain your pipes, you should lower the thermostat but never shut it off. The lack of heat can freeze the pipes in walls and in the basement. If freezing occurs, the pipes will burst. When the area warms up, the thawing water will cause flooding and possible property damage.
Turn Off Outside Faucets
Disconnect the hose; turn off the water from inside your home or business, then drain the pipe. Leave the outside valve open slightly so any water left in the pipe can flow out and not freeze in the line.
Open the Faucet a Small Amount on Extremely Cold Nights
If, despite these precautions, your pipes do freeze, it is best to call a licensed plumber. Make sure you keep the name and number of your plumber handy throughout the winter.
Call a plumber to determine if the frozen pipe is within your home or building. If the problem is outside your home or business, the Somerville Water Department may be able to help.
Somerville Water and Sewer Department
24-hour Customer Service
(617-666-3311 outside Somerville)