How to Avoid Frozen Pipes


I’m a southern girl. I bleed sweet tea, banana pudding,  and bless your hearts. Unlike most of my southern region family and friends, I LOVE winter. Also unlike many in my family, I have survived real winters. I’m not talking about your typical, wimpy, “ooh, it is down to 40 degrees” winter. I mean the real stuff: snow, ice, L L Bean gear, wishing you’d bought that Caribbean condo kind of winter. I lived in Maine. Enough said.

What is a southerner to do when caught in a surprise, real winter? What is the primary rule?
Do not drive. Just don’t. I don’t care if you have a military issued Humvee, with Siberian snow treads. Just don’t drive. You simply aren’t skilled enough to handle black ice, and your roads probably haven’t been properly plowed or salted. Why? Because you are in the south!  What do you do for the home front? After stocking up on food, firewood, and entertainment, you might want to remember to protect your home. How? Don’t forget your pipes.

Don't do this...

Don’t do this…

  • For external pipes:
    • Drain any underground irrigation systems
    • Protect outdoor pipes and fixtures, as well as those in crawlspaces and unheated garages, by wrapping them with insulating materials
    • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets
    • Drain outside hoses, and store them
    • Shut off water for all external pipes
  • For internal pipes:
    • Insulate hot and cold water pipes
    • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and allow warmer air to circulate to those spaces
    • Keep a trickle of water running in an inside sink
      • This will keep water moving through your pipes
      • The cost of this trickle for an evening is much cheaper than the plumber’s emergency visit for your busted pipes. Just saying…
The ONE TIME I don't follow my own advice!

The ONE TIME I don’t follow my own advice, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS!

There are many times when we do not heed the warnings of local weather forecasts. Why? Because they are often “wrong,” or the weather front changes. I understand the tendency to ignore the notices for caution, and I have been guilty of it recently.  I thankfully didn’t have an extremely expensive lesson, but it was enough to remind me to take my own advice. Prepare and protect your home. Stay safe, and warm, and remember to pray for those who aren’t.

Remember, it is best to prepare, than to be caught unaware. Click to Tweet.

Until next time,


16 thoughts on “How to Avoid Frozen Pipes

  1. I’m with you, I was born in upstate NY, lived in Philly and in Germany, so I can handle snow but I’m also not gonna drive on ice!! Great tips! I didn’t do the wrapping the pipes inside, bc I didn’t know that tip, but I did leave the cabinets open and a sink trickling water 🙂

  2. Awesome tips! I’m glad we live up on the hill so we don’t have to deal with freezing pipes, but when we lived down and about 2 miles away our pipes froze one winter. It was horrible, especially since we were renters and the owners were out of town.

  3. Thanks for the tips, Jeanae! As a relatively new homeowner, I’m terrified of a burst pipe or anything like this with the chilly weather we’ve had, so I’m following these rules, especially since the temperature’s supposed to drop next week. Bundle up and stay warm!

  4. Great tips for the crazy weather everyone has been happening. I’ve never experienced frozen pipes before but I keep hearing that it is happening to friends of mine.

  5. Agreed! because you know this northern girl has never lived in the south before this winter, and why would you need to blow out a sprinkler system in Texas one might ask…well the busted pipe we have in our front yard that now needs to get fixed might be one reason. Guess what we’re doing next November… ? 🙂

  6. Yes, we know the leave a trickle of water on trick well. Luckily, though it’s been really, really -10 actual temperature don’t even get me started on the wind chill kind of cold this winter, we have yet to have frozen pipes.

  7. A plumber told us this a few years ago and we’ve stuck by it. Lord knows we don’t need the added expense of broken pipes. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. We have been lucky that we only had to deal with a frozen drain line. I was 6 months pregnant, scooting on my back in the crawl space to hold a heat gun to the line. Not fun.

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