Avoid Frozen Pipe Disasters: Vacation Tips for Preventing Freezing Pipes

A,pipe,leaking,with,freeze,damageThe holiday season is here, and many people are preparing to go on vacation to enjoy some well-deserved time off. However, while you’re sipping cocktails on a sunny beach or exploring new cities, one thing you don’t want to worry about is returning home to a frozen pipe disaster. Freezing pipes can cause a range of issues, from burst pipes to water damage and expensive repairs. To ensure that your pipes remain in good shape while you’re away, here are some vacation tips for preventing freezing pipes.

1. Insulate Exposed Pipes:

Before you leave for your vacation, take the time to insulate any exposed pipes in your home. Insulation sleeves or foam pipe covers can be easily purchased at your local hardware store. Wrap them around exposed pipes in unheated areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, or attics. This insulation will provide an extra layer of protection and help prevent freezing.

2. Maintain a Constant Temperature:

One of the most effective ways to prevent freezing pipes is to maintain a constant temperature in your home. While it may be tempting to turn down your thermostat to save energy, it’s important to keep the temperature above freezing. Set your thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) to ensure that the pipes remain warm enough to prevent freezing.

3. Open Cabinet Doors:

If you have plumbing located in cabinets, such as the ones under your kitchen sink or bathroom vanity, open the cabinet doors before leaving for your vacation. This allows warm air from your home to circulate around the pipes, reducing the risk of freezing. It’s a simple and effective technique to prevent frozen pipes, especially in areas where cold air may otherwise be trapped.

4. Shut Off the Water Supply:

If you plan to be away for an extended period, consider shutting off the main water supply to your home. This precautionary step can provide added peace of mind. Locate the main shut-off valve and turn it off before leaving. Be sure to drain any excess water from the pipes by opening faucets and flushing toilets until the water stops running. Once you return, turn the water supply back on and slowly run the faucets to fill the pipes with water.

5. Have a Trusted Neighbor Check In:

If shutting off the water supply is not an option, consider asking a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member to check in on your home while you’re away. Ask them to run the faucets for a few minutes to keep water flowing and ensure that there are no signs of frozen pipes. In the event of exceptionally cold weather, they can take additional measures, such as leaving the faucets dripping, to prevent freezing.

6. Drain Outdoor Faucets and Sprinkler Systems:

Don’t forget about your outdoor plumbing! Before leaving for your vacation, make sure to drain all the water from your outdoor faucets, hoses, and sprinkler systems. Disconnect and store hoses in a warm place to prevent them from freezing. If you have an underground sprinkler system, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly drain the system or have a piping professional winterize it for you.

7. Consider Installing a Temperature Monitor:

If you travel frequently or live in an area with extreme winter temperatures, you may want to invest in a temperature monitor. These devices can be placed in your home and send alerts to your smartphone if the temperature drops below a certain threshold. This way, you can address any potential freezing issues promptly, even when you’re miles away.


With these vacation tips for preventing freezing pipes, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about returning home to a plumbing disaster. Taking a few precautions, such as insulating exposed pipes, maintaining a constant temperature, and shutting off the water supply, can save you from costly repairs and water damage. So, before you head off on your holiday adventures, take the time to safeguard your pipes and ensure a stress-free return home.

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