Wrap thermostat-controlled heat tape or cable around exposed pipes that tend to freeze, says Mr. Rooter, your expert and local Wooster, Ohio plumber. When the ambient temperature approaches freezing, the pipes will warm up automatically. Once you've pinpointed the section of pipe that typically freezes, make sure to either ask a plumber to drain the supply lines or cover them with insulation.
You can also save energy dollars by wrapping insulation around pipes leading to radiators and convectors. Every couple of months, turn the radiators or convectors off, let them cool down, then vacuum them with a crevice attachment and wipe them clean with a damp cloth.
If pipes should happen to freeze, follow these tips before attempting to thaw a pipe:
Mr. Rooter Tip of the Week
Tip #1 Shut off the main water valve. This will prevent water from gushing out as soon as the pipe is thawed.
Tip #2 Open the taps supplied by the pipes to reduce steam pressure, which can cause pipes to burst. Close the taps when the pipes have thawed.
Tip #3 If water isn't running anywhere in the house, a pipe near the water meter may be frozen. To confirm this, touch the meter and the exposed pipes adjacent to it. If they feel extremely cold, a nearby pipe probably needs thawing.