While we know that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, frozen pipes aren’t typically much of an issue until it gets to 20 degrees or colder. Insurance giant, State Farm recommends insulating pipes in your crawl space to help prevent freezing. “Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember, the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.” Electrical heating tape can also be used in extremely cold areas to protect certain portions of the pipes. Maintaining an interior temperature of at least 55 degrees can also help to keep water from freezing in the pipes. Vents on the crawl space should also be shut to keep the crawl space warm, in turn keeping the pipes warmer as well. Keeping the garage door shut is another preventative tactic to help keep the pipes from freezing.
During periods of extreme cold you may also want to leave a faucet running at a trickle. This helps to draw the water through the pipes and prevent the pipes from freezing. The open tap allows the pressure in the pipe to stay low and help stop pipe damage.
Exterior plumbing can also be vulnerable to freezing. Leaving garden hoses attached to the hose pipe can cause damage to your plumbing. The water pressure from ice forming in the hose can back up into the interior pipes and cause damage. Garden hoses should be removed and drained before the winter. If the outdoor plumbing has a shut off valve you should use it. Also, your sprinkler system should be winter proofed. This may mean a blow out of the lines or other preventative methods. Pools, ponds and fountains should all be winterized as well.
If your pipes freeze, it is important to call a professional right away. The pipes can rupture anywhere, and it may be hard to find the site until it is too late. If you think you may have frozen pipes, turn off the main supply value and then get a plumber in to assess the damage as quickly as possible.