- Locate and mark your main water shut-off valve with paint or a visible tag. Test the valve in advance.
- Remove and drain all outdoor hoses.
- Turn off outside water lines and open the outside spigots to drain standing water from the pipes.
- To prevent water pipes from freezing, wrap outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated areas with an insulating material.
- Place an insulation jacket around your hot water heater if it is installed in an unheated space.
- Wrap electric heat tape around any pipes that have previously frozen.
Find a trusted plumber and electrician; keep their names and phone numbers handy.
Special winter safety tips for severe cold:
- Keep a trickle of water running from the indoor faucet farthest away from your main water pipe (where water enters the house). This will help to keep any indoor pipes from freezing.
- If your home is unheated for an extended period, drain the water pipes and turn off the main water shut-off valve and the water heater.
- If a water pipe freezes, wrap it with cloth and pour hot water over the cloth until the pipe thaws and water starts flowing again. Once the water is running again, remove the cloth strips and wrap the pipe with dry insulation.
- If a water pipe breaks, close the main water shut-off valve and call a plumber. If the pipe is easy to reach, you can use a pipe repair kit purchased from a hardware store.