winterized hose bib on brick house

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home’s Plumbing for Cold Snaps

Use these tips to help winterize your home’s plumbing and prevent burst pipes in the event of a cold snap or another Texas “snowpocalypse.”


There are two main parts to preparing your home’s plumbing for a cold snap: outdoor winterizing and indoor winterizing. You may want to start outdoors, where the temperature will be coldest, and work your way in.

1. Find your main water shut-off valve.

Trust us, you’ll want to know where this is in case a burst pipe does happen—or any type of plumbing emergency. This valve is typically located in a home’s yard or garage, but you may need to look for it in the laundry room or basement.

2. Drain your sprinklers.

Your sprinkler system is susceptible to freezing and bursting, just like any plumbing pipe. Be sure to shut the system off and allow it to drain.

3. Attend to your outdoor faucets.

Disconnect and drain all hoses and put them inside. Shut off the water supply to your outdoor faucets, and then turn the taps on to let the remaining water drain. Lastly, cover the faucets with outdoor faucet socks to insulate them.

Pro Tip: Avoid using towels and newspaper to insulate plumbing pipes or fixtures exposed to the outdoors. These materials absorb moisture and can then freeze right over your pipes and faucets once wet. Instead, opt for polyethylene foam insulation, which you can get from your local hardware store.

4. Insulate pipes that run through uninsulated spaces.

Check for exposed pipes running through exterior walls or areas like your garage, attic, or crawl space, where the temperature can get significantly colder than in other areas of your home. Insulate them by wrapping them in foam insulation on top of a layer of electrical tape.

5. Seal air leaks around your home.

Update caulk and weatherstripping where needed on exterior doors and windows. Air leaks can also occur in areas you might not expect, including the gaps around electrical outlets and switches and your attic hatch. Consider updating your home’s insulation in key areas, such as the attic.

6. Keep your thermostat at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

It’s important to keep your home warm enough to protect your pipes, even if you won’t be there. On particularly cold days, you can help the warm air reach your pipes by opening your kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

7. During a cold snap, let your faucets run.

If water is moving through your pipes, it’s much less likely to freeze and cause the chain reaction that leads to burst pipes. When the forecast warns of a cold snap, turn on the cold water and allow your faucets to run at a trickle either overnight or for the duration of the cold snap.

At Tom's Mechanical, Inc., we are proud to offer reliable, top-quality plumbing solutions throughout Arlington, TX. To get help from our caring team of plumbers, don’t hesitate to contact us today: (972) 388-3669.