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How to Prepare Your Home for Freezing Temperatures

With freezing temperatures and bitter air in the forecast for Coastal Virginia, here are a few tips to prepare and protect your home, and keep you and your family nice and warm. 

Prevent/Repair Frozen Water Pipes:


  • Remove and store all attached exterior garden hoses, and shut off the valves and drain water.

  • Shut off the internal valve, and turn on the exterior faucet and drain the water into a bucket until it runs dry.

  • When the water is cleared, turn off the exterior faucet and use faucet covers to protect from wind and freezing temps.

  • Keep gutters clean. Ice buildup can lead to interior leaks or damage.


  • Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night.

  • Let cold water drip from any faucet served by exposed pipes.

  • For faucets in kitchen or bath, especially near exterior walls, leave cabinet doors open to allow heat to get to your pipes. DO NOT use an open flame to thaw out frozen pipes. Use a hair dryer instead.

Check Your Smoke Detectors: Replace your batteries in your alarms, including carbon monoxide detectors. And be careful when using space heaters. It’s easy for space heaters to overheat extension cord cables, so be sure you are using an extension cord with a thicker cord than the heater. More tips to safely heat your home.

Check for Cracks & Gaps Around Doors and Windows: Make sure these areas are well sealed to prevent drafts. But remember, cold drafts come from more than just your windows and doors. Attic stairways, air ducts, chimneys, and even the kitchen hood vent can be entry points for cold air.

  • Install new weather stripping or a door sweep to seal perimeters around these key entry points.

  • Caulk cracks or gaps around your chimney, windows, air ducts, and attic to halt the cold air flow to the inside of your home.  If you have a bigger area that needs to be filled, try an expanding foam sealant instead.

  • Your fireplace may be in high use right now, but consider closing the damper when the fireplace is not in use. An open damper can result in heat loss and draftiness throughout your house. 

  • Make sure the attic, especially the attic ceiling, is well insulated. Insulation keeps the warm air inside during winter months and cool air inside during warmer months.

  • Close foundation vents around the exterior of your home, and inspect your foundation for small cracks or openings where mice and pests can get in when they’re seeking warmth.

  • Have your furnace and exposed air ducts inspected by an HVAC professional to ensure your unit is running efficiently with no leaks or holes. They can be sealed with a foil or mastic tape.

Check Furnace Filters:  Furnace filters allow efficient heat transfer, so be sure to change these at least twice per year. And, if you haven’t had your furnace checked for a couple of years, now is the time to do so. 

If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact or visit any of our 11 neighborhood locations