The winter season can be a real challenge for your home. When the temperature plummets and the darkness falls early, your furnace needs to work harder just to keep up. When ice and snow accumulate on your roof, the very structure of your home could be at risk.

Then there are the pipes running through your home, silently delivering the water you need every day. Chances are you do not think much about those pipes, at least until one bursts and leaves your home flooded.

As the temperature falls, the likelihood of frozen and bursting pipes goes up enormously. If you do not want to wake up to a disaster, you need to take proactive measures to protect your pipes from freezing. Here are five methods you can use to keep your pipes safe and the water flowing freely.

1. Open Your Cabinet Doors

Keeping your cabinet doors closed can trap the cold air inside, increasing the likelihood that the pipes under your sink will freeze up. Opening those cabinet doors promotes the flow of warm air and helps prevent your pipes from freezing.

2. Leave the Tap On

When the temperatures plummet to subzero levels, leaving the taps dripping all night could stop your pipes from freezing. Having a small amount of water running through the pipes all night is one of the best ways to protect your pipes during periods of extreme cold.

3. Keep Your Home at a Steady Temperature

Turning the thermostat down before bedtime is a great way to save on winter heating costs, but your pipes will appreciate a steadier temperature. When the temperatures drop into the subfreezing category, it is best to leave the thermostat alone and keep a constant temperature day and night.

4. Check for Air Leaks

Cold air seeping around the pipes will encourage them to freeze, so take some time to look for cracks that could allow that cold air into your home. Use sealant and caulking to fill in the gaps to make sure your pipes are well protected.

5. Disconnect Outdoor Hoses

If you have not already done so, now is the time to disconnect those outdoor hoses. Be sure to let the hoses drain completely before disconnecting them, and make sure the outdoor taps are securely closed.

Protecting your pipes in subzero temperatures is no easy task, but there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of freezing pipes and the water damage a burst pipe can cause. In addition to the tips listed above, make sure every member of the family knows where the main shutoff valve is located. That way if a pipe does burst you can at least mitigate the damage.

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