Water pipes in your home can burst when freezing temperatures create ice in the pipes. As ice continues to form and expand, water trapped between the blockage and your faucet can be subjected to tremendous pressure, causing pipes to spring leaks.
A temporary solution: Allow the faucet to drip slowly. This can prevent the pressure from building up and possibly bursting your pipes. If the faucet stops dripping, don’t close it–the pressure still may need to be released. Of course, the best solution is to get the same effect without wasting water. Simply install innovative and patented technology known as a “temperature controlled hot water recirculating valve” (is a breeze-no pipe cutting, soldering or electrical connections). It uses your existing water pipes and the thermal convection generated by your water heater to circulate the water back to your water heater for reheating (not requiring a pump or any electricity). These systems are temperature-controlled and are easily adjustable to meet your particular temperature needs. There is no water waste and it also reduces the energy required to heat your water while it provides faster hot water to your faucets and showers. A trickle of water circulating in your pipes will keep your pipes from freezing in most circumstances.
Pipes that snake through attics, crawl spaces, or exterior walls–especially poorly insulated pipes–are most likely to freeze. (You probably have a frozen pipe if the faucet or appliance relying on it isn’t getting flowing water.) Where you can, cover water pipes with insulation. If freezes are common where you live, consider warming the problem pipes with electric heat tape. If you go on vacation, do not turn your heat totally off–leave it set to around 55 degrees F.
As for outside spigots, turn off the water to these lines and drain them. Don’t leave a hose attached to the spigot.
Ironically, burst pipes are a real problem in the South; building practices there may not adequately protect pipes from occasional subfreezing temperatures, the Building Research Council says. The threshold: 20° F or below.