First and Foremost:
- Know the location of the shut-off valve in your building. If you do not have one, have one installed as soon as possible.
Preparing Outside Your Home:
- Remove and store hoses.
- Wrap outside faucets.
- Wrap pipes in crawl spaces, under porches, garages and any pipes which have frozen in the past.
- To wrap pipes, use dry newspapers, plastic bags (secured with string or wire), or commercially manufactured coverings sold at hardware and plumbing stores.
- Use electric heat tape to wrap pipes that have frozen before despite using other precautionary measures.
- Drain irrigation or water systems.
- If snow or ice is forecast, some customers may want to place a visible stick or other type of marker by their water meter.
Preparing Inside Your Home:
- Open cabinet doors under sinks to give pipes next to outside walls exposure to warm air.
- Find the faucet farthest from the main water line and allow it to drip cold water at a very slow rate in order to keep water moving through the pipes.
Preparing Vacant or Unheated Buildings:
- Turn off the hot water heater and the main shut-off valve in the building.
- Drain pipes by opening all indoor and outdoor faucets and then closing them.
- Shut off the valve to each toilet and flush once to drain the tank (not necessarily the bowl).
Thawing Frozen Pipes:
- Thaw as soon as possible.
- Do not use an open flame or hair dryer.
- Wrap the pipe with rags and pour hot water over the rags.
- Call a plumber or capable handyman to thaw pipes or to replace broken pipes.