Keep your pipes from freezing this winter! Here is a checklist of what to do:
Disconnect and drain all hoses and put them under cover in a shed or garage. Cover all hose bibs with outdoor foam faucet covers or use towels or rags for insulation.
Insulate any pipes or faucets in unheated garages or crawl spaces. Check with your hardware store for various types of pipe wrapping insulation and heat tape which can help prevent frozen pipes.
If you have an in-ground irrigation system, turn it off and either drain it or blow it out out with a compressor. Many irrigation and landscape companies offer this service.
Seal off all access doors and cracks with weatherstripping insulation.
Promptly investigate any signs of water leakage that could indicate a burst pipe, such as the sound of running water.
Locate the master water shutoff valve in your home and paint it a bright color or put a tag on it. The master valve is usually located where the water line comes into the house from the street, often in your garage. If you have any kind of a water emergency in your house such as a burst pipe, turn off this valve until you can fix the problem. If this valve does not turn or is broken, you can still turn off the water at your water meter.
Locate your water meter on your property and learn how to turn it off and on. You can purchase a water meter key at most hardware stores that you can use to shut off your meter, or you can use a crescent wrench and a screwdriver to turn it off.
During very cold weather periods, leave your heat on a slightly higher setting when you are away from the house. You can also leave cabinet doors open under your kitchen and bathroom sinks to ensure warm air circulation around your sink pipes.
You can use a hair dryer on a low setting to unfreeze pipes. You can also wrap frozen pipe sections in rags or towels and pour hot water over them. Frozen pipes that have been broken may not leak until thawed, so have dry towels and buckets ready! Be ready to shut off the master valve. Do not use a blow torch to heat pipes, since it can start a fire in your home.
Identify several plumbers in advance and keep their numbers handy in the event of an emergency. Plumbers are quite busy during cold spells.