Keeping pipes warm is the key to preventing frozen pipes. The most susceptible water pipes are those that are in exterior walls of the home or in crawl spaces. To help prevent these pipes from freezing, first, insulate cold water pipes. Wrapping the pipes with insulation, heat tape or thermostatically-controlled heat cables can help.
When the weather produces extended freezing temperatures, keep the area with susceptible pipes warm by opening cabinet doors and crawl space openings. Keep temperatures within the home no lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is a misconception that letting the faucet drip will prevent pipes from freezing. Rather, letting water drip releases pressure and provides space for ice to expand without rupturing pipes.
Disconnect garden hoses to prevent exterior faucets from freezing. Most modern outdoor faucets have a freeze-release valve and do not need a cover. Additionally, if the irrigation system was adequately winterized, no water will remain in the system and wrapping the backflow prevention device is not necessary.
If a pipe freezes, apply heat to it. A small space heater or blow dryer are recommended. It may take some time to get the heat to disperse through the plumbing system. Never use an open flame and have areas adequately ventilated.
Know where the water shut-off valve is in case there is a burst pipe. This valve can be on the water meter which is usually located in the basement, garage or crawl space — or in a utility closet on a wall nearest the street.