Frozen pipes are a little more serious than simply constituting a blockage within your home's plumbing: since water expands when it freezes, frozen pipes can cause your pipes to develop leaks or even burst entirely, which can cause extensive water damage and mold growth within your home if not addressed immediately. Fortunately, there are a variety of different steps that homeowners can take to help keep your pipes warm throughout the cold months and ensure that such water damage and expensive repairs do not occur.
The simplest, yet one of the most effective, things that you can do to help keep your pipes warm is to install insulation over them. Pipe insulation is available at most hardware stores, and is simply cut to size and then taped (or attached with an adhesive backing) onto your pipes, helping to keep the temperature of your water above freezing. Installing this installation on all of your exposed plumbing, especially any plumbing in cabinets under sinks, in your basement, or along exterior walls, can greatly reduce the risk of a burst pipe developing. In a similar vein, you may want to consider adding heating tape to pipes that are particularly at risk – this tape plugs in and wraps around the pipe in question, providing active heating that keeps the water flowing even if the surrounding temperature is well below freezing.
One of the most common places where pipes will freeze are in the cabinets underneath sinks, since the cabinet doors will prevent hot air from circulating around the pipes, creating a sort of fridge. In order to prevent this from happening, you should periodically open up the cabinet doors underneath any sinks, or anywhere else where your pipes may be hidden behind cabinet doors or other barriers, to ensure proper air circulation and reduce the risk of freezing (and to melt any ice that does begin to form, for that measure).
Maintain the Temperature
The worst thing that you can do in the winter months when you go on vacation is to turn your furnace off entirely. This causes the temperature within your home to crater, making it much more likely that your pipes will freeze and burst, flooding certain areas of your home. The savings that you may receive from moderating your furnace's temperature while you're not home are peanuts compared to the cost of extensive water damage and mold remediation: make sure to keep your furnace comfortably above freezing even while you are away.
Contact a company like In & Out Plumbing & Construction for more help.