Every winter pipes in Georgia freeze.  It happens. It may have happened to you last year.

Frozen pipes can rupture which will cause a huge mess.

Your pipes are most at risk when the temps are cold and the wind is howling.  While the cold alone is enough to freeze pipes, wind whipping can cause cold to penetrate and give you problems in places where you may not expect to have problems.

Pipes located in garages, crawlspaces, and unheated basements as well as outside hose connections and pipes in exterior walls are the most at danger.

Here are some tips to keep your pipes in proper working order when the mercury drops.

 - Disconnect your outside hoses and attachments to the outside faucets.

 - If you have valves inside controlling the outside faucets shut them as well.  Remember to leave the outside faucet open.

 - Open your cabinets below faucets to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.

 - Keep your doors and windows closed, including your garage door.  If you have pipes in the garage look into having safe heat in the area.

 - Drip your faucets, both hot and cold, at night.  Yes you will waste water, but the cost of the wasted water will be a bargain compared to a frozen, busted pipe

 - If you have water pipes in your attic (a humidifier system perhaps) apply the same principles as the garage.

 - If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period make sure you leave your heat on.  65 degrees is a pretty safe temp to keep your house functioning well in your absence.

 - While insulating your pipes is a great idea, don't assume that the insulation will guarantee you that the pipes won't freeze.

If a pipe is frozen, here is what you should do…

 - Believe it or not, sometimes a pipe will burst, but you won't know it because the ice in the pipe will act as a barrier and seal the leak.  However, when it thaws out, watch out!

 - If a faucet stops delivering water during a cold spell assume that there is ice present.  You will also be ahead of the game if you assume a frozen pipe will leak when it thaws out.  Even if a frozen pipe is not leaking, do not ignore it!

 - Know where the water shut off valve to your house is and know how to use it.  Also do the same for the water at the street cut-off.  You may have to purchase a water meter key to turn off the water at the street.

 - If you are going to leave your house due to a frozen pipe consider shutting off the water before you go.  This may prevent flooding in your empty house.

The bottom line is that frozen pipes will require attention from a professional plumber.  Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

This is a 2 on the Hammer of difficulty chart if you are prepared.  It is a 5 if you aren't...