How to Keep Exposed Rooftop Water Pipes From Freezing

Any externally placed pipes are subject to freezing during the winter months if not properly insulated from the cold. This is especially true for pipes that are exposed on rooftops, without even the shelter of nearby walls to keep the full effects of winter weather at bay. The most cost-efficient and quickest-to-apply method of providing protection is with a layer of insulation applied directly to the pipes. With foam tape insulation, you can wrap the pipes in an insulative material, keeping away the full effects of the cold and preventing freezing of the exposed pipes.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • Mild liquid soap
  • Foam tape insulation
  • Aluminum foil tape


    • 1

      Wipe the pipes down with a piece of cloth to remove any dirt that could interfere with effective insulation. Clean the pipes with a mild liquid soap-and-water mixture, using a clean rag. Stir the soap into the water until suds begin to form, and saturate the rag in the mix before wiping the mix along the pipes. Rinse with a damp rag; then dry the pipes before the soapy water has a chance to freeze on the pipe surface.

    • 2

      Cover the pipes with foam tape insulation, wrapping the insulation around the pipe with 1/2-inch overlaps in a spiral to ensure complete coverage. Begin the insulation 3 inches from the location of any flues, leaving the gap to keep the insulation from blocking the flue.

    • 3

      Secure the insulation to the pipe with aluminum foil tape placed over the insulation and over the insulation edges, sealing the end of the insulation tape against the pipe.

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  • Photo Credit Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images

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