The best time to protect your pipes from freezing is when the weather is warm. Find those exposed pipes and insulate them against the cold. If you make the effort now to protect your pipes, you'll never have to worry again about the cold weather freezing them and having them burst and flood your home.

1. Insulate Exposed Pipes

Have one of your local plumbing services come out and trace your water lines throughout the house. Wherever a pipe runs through a section of the house with little or no insulation, you have a freezing risk. Your attic, garage and crawlspaces may have water pipes running through them, and these spaces are rarely insulated enough. The plumber can add insulation to those areas to keep the cold temperatures out and off of the pipes.

Look for any air leaks around vents going to the outside of the house, such as dryer vents and water lines. The cold air that comes in those spaces can cause nearby water pipes to freeze. Pack a little insulation in those air leaks or caulk around those openings.

2. Reroute Heating Vents to Keep Pipes Warm

An alternative to adding insulation is to route some of the warm air from your furnace to the area. For example, water pipes that are next to an un-insulated exterior wall of your garage are subject to freezing. A plumber or general contractor can put in some ductwork to route warm air from the furnace into the garage. The space only needs to be a few degrees warmer to prevent freezing pipes. In the case of the garage, you'll also have a warm car to get into when you head out.

3. Use Electrical Heat Tape

For water pipes that only have a short length exposed to the cold, your plumber can wrap the pipes with electrical heat tape. Pipes that run next to a cold window or a drafty area may only need a little protection. Electrical heat tape to wrap the pipes can be very basic, meaning you plug it in when the weather is cold. Or it can be controlled by a thermostat, turning on the heat when the temperature gets close to freezing.

4. Protect Exterior Pipes and Faucets

If you have faucets that run outside of the house for watering the yard and garden, these should be drained. The best solution is to have a plumber put a water cutoff in the line a few feet before it exits the house. Before the frost hits, turn off the water cutoff and open the faucet outside so water can drain out and won't freeze.

Do a thorough inspection of your house for water pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Protecting them now will prevent high repair bills later should the pipes freeze and burst during the next cold snap. Contact a company like Aurora Plumbing and Electric Supply, Inc for more tips.