How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
We don't have it often, but when we get temperatures in the teens or tewnties two nights in a row with the day between staying below the freezing mark, I'm sure to get some calls of busted pipes. However, the temperature is not the main factor that causes this; it's the exposure to cold air that does it more. While some think they should leave some inside faucets dripping, we don't recommend this for many reasons, one being many will forget to turn off the faucet the next morning, and you don't want the faucet dripping if the temperatures stay low for long.
The key is to break off the air (or wind) so it doesn't reach your pipes. You may have seen Styrofoam covers for outside faucets. We recommend those. And by no means should anyone leave their garden hose connected to the outside faucet on the real cold days and nights. Or if you do, you'll have a problem, and then you can call me. But really, I figure you'd rather prevent a problem than have me come fix it.
Crawl space is another place where pipes may be exposed to very cold air. In this situation, you can do two things: First, close the vents around the bottom of the house so the air doesn't flow freely to the pipes under your house. Don't forget to open them back up in spring. Second, you can insulate your pipes. A foam or any covering that blocks pipe exposure to air will help.
There are a few more rare situations where I've seen pipes freeze, but it's worth mentioning. Some people may have exposed pipes in their garage close to their garage door. Most garage doors don't seal flush, so cold air comes through and can affect the pipes if they are right next to that space. I just close off the air gap around my garage door with masking tape when there is a risk.
Also, a kitchen may have pipes in an outside wall. One simple way to reduce the risk of freezing pipes then is to just leave your cabinet doors open under the sink, so the inside heated air gets to those pipes. Often, it's just a simple thing that can save you a big headache.
And for any human snowbirds, if you are going to leave your house for sunnier places, or even if you leave your house without the heat on for a few nights in the winter, you should take a few protective steps: Cut the water off to the house and drain all the pipes. Use an RV antifreeze fluid in your toilet and down your sinks.
That's it. Keep the cold air away from your pipes, and then you'll only need to call me for your bathroom remodeling project.