Frozen Pipes and Water Heaters

Preventing frozen pipes and caring for your water heaters are essential parts of enjoying a reliable supply of water.

Water Heater Notes

To keep water heaters in good condition, their thermostats should be set no higher than 120 degrees. Quick recovery water heaters have two thermostats and both should be set at the same temperature. Add an extra layer of insulation to older water heaters located in unheated areas to prevent freezing and other maintenance issues. Be sure not to cover the pressure relief valve, drain valve, or electrical connection.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can cut off your home’s water supply and cause damaging leaks. In many cases, the help of a plumber is needed to resolve the problem. To prevent further damage, it is generally recommended that you turn off your main water supply valve and your water heater until repairs have been made.

A few key steps can protect your home from frozen pipes:

  1. If you leave your home during the winter months, turn off the main valve to your water supply and drain your faucets. 
  2. Disconnect garden hoses and wrap outdoor faucets with an insulating material. Cover the insulation with plastic to keep out moisture. 
  3. Cover foundation vent holes to keep your crawl space warm.
  4. Insulate any exposed pipes. Use heat tape if necessary. 
  5. During extended periods of freezing temperatures, keep a trickle of water running from your indoor faucets. A small trickle may cost a few extra cents, but will save you the larger expense of frozen or broken pipes.
  6. If you are going to be away from your home for a few days, keep your heating system running so that some heat is available to keep pipes from freezing.