How to Keep Outside Water Pipes From Freezing

Updated February 21, 2017

Outdoor water pipes are at risk during freezing temperatures as the water inside can freeze and expand, breaking the pipe itself. Even a small leak can cause major damage. Spare yourself a costly repair job by preparing your outdoor water pipes for the winter and by maintaining them through the winter months.

Turn off the main water valve to the house.

Disconnect the garden hoses.

Drain all of the outdoor faucets.

Turn the water back on.

Wrap several layers of towels or rags around outdoor pipes, securing them with string or twine. The cloth insulates the pipes. You can also use fibreglass insulation designed for this purpose.

Open the indoor drawers and cabinets that are located near the outdoor water pipes. This allows more heat to soak through the wall to the pipes.

Turn off the main water valve.

Drain the water out of faucets.

Set the house thermostat to 12.8 degrees Celsius.


If you leave town for an extended period, ask a neighbour to check your house every few days.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags or old towels
  • String
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