Plummeting temperatures can cause water pipes near exterior walls to freeze if they’re not insulated properly.
To prevent problems, let lukewarm water trickle overnight from the faucets near your home’s outside walls, and open cabinet doors to let the house’s heat reach pipes under sinks and appliances.
Skip turning down the thermostat at night until the frigid spell has passed. Keeping your home warmer than usual can help offset the extra chill.
If you turn on a faucet fully and only a trickle of water comes out, that’s a warning sign that a pipe is frozen. To thaw it, try warming the pipe with a hair dryer or towels soaked with warm water and wrapped around the pipe. Turn the faucet on so melted water can escape, and start thawing the pipe nearest to the faucet.
Avoid using hair dryers or other electrical devices around standing water.
If a pipe bursts, shut off the water supply at your home’s main valve and call a plumber. If the break is in a hot water pipe, close the valve on top of the water heater, too.
Sources: American Red Cross, Allstate and State Farm insurance companies