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Beat the freeze and prepare your pipes for cold weather

When the temperature drops, pipes can freeze, burst and cause serious water damage. It’s crucial to prep your pipes before the next cold snap to avoid potential water damage caused by frozen pipes.

Follow these tips to reduce your risk of a watery woe when cold weather hits:

Find and label your main water shut-off valve

Firstly, know where your main water shut-off valve is located – and ensure your family members are familiar with it, too. Test the valve to make sure it works and label it for easy identification. If water unexpectedly escapes, or a pipe bursts, quick action to shut off your main valve can be the difference between a small puddle and a big mess.

Turn off your outside faucets

Faucets located on your home’s exterior are most susceptible to cold weather conditions. To reduce the risk of a frozen mishap, you’ll want to put them out of service by:

  • Shutting off the water flow to faucets. You’ll find the exterior faucet shut-off valve in a crawlspace, garage or mounted on an exterior-facing wall.
  • Removing and storing your garden hoses and sprinklers.
  • Turning on your exterior faucet on to drain the remaining water. Then turn it off until the spring thaw.

Add an extra layer of warmth

If the weather in your area gets extremely cold, covering your drained outdoor faucets with an insulation sock can act as a second line of defence.

Two hands wrap cylindrical grey insulation tube around a copper pipe

Insulate exposed pipes

Insulate your exterior pipes, especially in unheated areas like your attic, crawlspace and garage. Even pipes running through exterior walls can freeze. If you can, insulate your most vulnerable pipes or heat them with baseboard heaters.

Trickle your faucets

A good (temporary) way to keep your pipes from freezing is to let a little cold water trickle out of your inside faucets. This helps prevent freezing without being overly wasteful. Just be sure to remove your sink plug or stopper.

Maintain a good temperature

Pipes in heated areas are typically at a lower risk of being affected by a cold blast, but it’s important to remember to keep your thermostats in all areas of the home set to no less than 12°C to prevent them from freezing – particularly if you’re heading away on a vacation!

Man adjusts smart home touch screen wall screen

Understand your insurance terms

It’s essential to know what your home insurance will and won’t cover. For example:

Water damage

Home insurance policies will typically cover water damage when a pipe bursts and water escapes. However, damage to the pipe itself is not generally covered.

Your insurance policy likely only covers water damage from burst pipes in heated areas of your home. Even if a pipe is insulated, water damage from a frozen pipe bursting may not be covered if the pipe is in an unheated area like an attic, crawlspace or garage.

Vacation check-ins

If you're heading south to flee the cold, your home insurance policy may require you to have someone check your property. The specifics may differ depending on your provider. If you’re a BCAA Home Insurance customer:

  • You must have someone check your property every other day if you’re away for over two weeks.
  • If you can’t find someone to check your home while you’re away, turn off your water supply, drain plumbing and A/C systems.

Protect your property with BC's Most Trusted Insurance Brand*

Add an extra layer of protection with BCAA Home Insurance. Over a one-year period, BCAA paid out on 95% of claims related to fire, water, weather and theft**, so you can rest assured, you’re insured when you choose BCAA.

You can get a no-obligation quote on BCAA Home Insurance and save 5% when you buy online, plus up to 20% if you’re a BCAA Member***. Get a quote now at

For more information on water damage and what’s covered, head to or talk to our expert advisors by phone at 1.888.268.2222, book an in person appointment at your local Service Location or chat with us live by clicking ‘Chat Now’ in the bottom right corner of your screen.

Keep safe, dry and warm out there!

Home Insurance is sold through B.C.A.A. Holdings Ltd. dba BCAA Insurance Agency, a licensed insurance agency, and underwritten by BCAA Insurance Corporation.
*BCAA, in association with CAA, was chosen as the #1 Most Trusted Insurance Brand by British Columbia participants in the 2023 Gustavson Brand Trust Index
**From 2019 to 2020, BCAA paid out on average 95% of home insurance claims related to fire, water, weather and theft. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
***BCAA Member savings on insurance products are only available with Basic, Plus, or Premier Membership plans. For full details, please visit