If water freezes in your home's plumbing, it can expand and cause the pipes to burst. Once the frozen blockage melts, this can allow water to flow freely into areas of your home, which can cause a significant amount of damage and can be hard to fix quickly. Fortunately, there are a few different things that you can do to keep your pipes from becoming damaged this winter season.
One of the simplest ways to protect exposed plumbing in your home from freezing is to physically install insulation on them. Plumbing insulation can be found at most hardware stores in common sizes for residential pipes, and only has to be cut to size and secured in place using plumber's tape. It can also be installed by your local plumbers. You may also want to consider insulating the area where the exposed pipes run through for good measure, such as crawlspaces or cabinets, to keep those areas warm as well.
Seal Air Leaks
One of the most common reasons why a pipe that was fine in past winters may suddenly freeze and burst is because of a broken seal somewhere that allows cold air to leak into your home. In order to prevent this from happening, you should inspect the windows and doors throughout your home to see if they are flush with their frames. Damaged weatherstripping along the edges can usually be taken off with a putty knife, and new weatherstripping installed simply by using an adhesive and pressing it in place. However, if windows or doors are physically cracked, or no longer sit properly in their frames, you may want to consider replacing them to protect your plumbing.
Another simple way to ensure that your pipes do not run the risk of freezing during the winter is to make sure that warm air is able to properly flow through your home. This means that you should leave doors open between rooms, especially into areas that have exposed plumbing. Opening the cabinet doors under the sinks of your home is a clear example, as is leaving the basement door open.
A short term solution for exposed pipes that are at risk of freezing because of a sudden freeze is to install a space heater nearby to keep the ambient temperature about freezing. This is particularly useful for crawlspaces, which can be tricky to properly insulate, and which may not benefit from increasing the furnace temperature and leaving the door open.