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Install & Replace

Prevent Exposed Water Pipes from Freezing

We are having a FREEZE here in the South.  (I know that it is probably warm compared to the rest of the country – but we are cold!)  If you are cold, your house is probably cold too – especially any non-heated water pipes – like those running to an outside faucet or across the ceiling in an attic.  There is a danger of frozen water pipes and the ensuing clean-up under stressful conditions.  I make sure to take preventive action since I had a non-insulated water pipe break in a crawlspace several years ago. 


Insulation around the water pipes will help.  But as the temperatures get colder and stay colder, the water can freeze inside exposed pipes. As the water freezes, it expands – and that causes the pipe to split or break.  When the water thaws (as the ambient temperature rises) you have a major clean-up and repair project.


heat cable.jpg


I use an automatic electric heat cable kit that is designed for use on metal and plastic water pipes.  The kit comes pre-assembled for easy installation and has a built-in thermostat.  The plug has a power indicator light to you know that it is working.  Best of all, it keeps water flowing when the temperature falls well below freezing!


Installation is easy: you need to know the length of the exposed pipe and have an electrical outlet accessible.  As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  One final tip: NEVER cross the heat cable over itself – always apply in a forward direction. 


Stay warm and stay dry!

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Posted 2010-12-10T14:36:22+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL Eileen_HD_ATL

Auburn, CA


We have moved to Northern California and purchased a home.  The elevation is about 1200 feet and there is some freezing during the winter months.  Besides pipes there are watering system manifolds which should be covered.  I have seen some covered with what appear to be thermal bags.  I would need about 3x4 feet bag.  Where can I locate that product.

Thank you

Jack Harrell

Posted 2011-06-28T02:55:18+0000  by jackharrell

Hello Jack Harrell and welcome to The Community!  We are glad that you are here.


I spoke to one of our manufacturer for winterization procedures.  Orbit Irrigation Products has specific instructions on this link.  They recommend the drain method for auto-drain valves and the blowout method for systems that do not have auto-drain valves.


I suspect that the thermal bags you see are from an industrial supply house.  Municipalities use them to cover backflow valves in your state.  I did find a product that I think you have described (click here), however we do not sell this at The Home Depot.


Best wishes and please keep me posted on your progress!



Posted 2011-06-28T14:41:15+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL
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