The best way to avoid frozen pipes and ice dams is to implement simple tips inside and outside your home.


As the temperature drops, the chance of freezing pipes rises – along with several other issues.

But there are some proactive measures you can take to protect your home.

Here's a list of tips from State Farm that can help avoid trouble with frozen pipes:

  • Look for cracks and holes in siding and check insulation. Pipes can freeze anywhere if they're exposed to extreme cold.
  • When it's very cold outside, let the hot and cold faucets drip overnight.
  • Open cabinet doors to let heat get to non-insulated pipes under sinks on exterior walls.
  • Insulate pipes in the crawl space or attic.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside.
  • Disconnect garden hoses.
  • Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  • If you are leaving home for an extended period of time, keep home heated to at least 55 degrees.

Another issue this time of year is the potential for ice dams, which form when the temperature of an attic is above freezing. That causes snow on the roof to melt. But when it refreezes when the weather gets colder, the pools of water can leak into your home.

State Farm also offers tips on how to prevent ice dams:

  • Insulate the attic floor and use a dehumidifier to control water vapor.
  • Seal all openings that would let vapor rise into the attic.
  • If possible, keep the attic temperature below freezing.
  • Provide good attic ventilation to replace warm air with the cold outside air.
  • Don't remove snow from roof or try to chip away the ice from an ice dam because it could lead to shingle damage.
  • Don't install large mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics.
  • Don't use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow on a roof because the chemicals can shorten the life of gutters, downspouts, and flashings. Runoff can also damage grass and plants.
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