Effective ways to winterize home plumbing are keeping a faucet dripping when temperatures fall below freezing, sealing crawlspaces, keeping interior temperatures above freezing and emptying any pipes that are not used regularly. For exposed pipes in very cold areas, wrapping pipes with insulating foam or fabric is usually effective. Special low-voltage pipe wire keeps pipes in extremely frigid areas from freezing.
A common mistake that often leads to ruptured pipes is turning a home's heating system off when residents are away for extended periods. While this saves a small amount of money on heating costs, it can lead to an expensive repair bill in the event of a sudden blizzard or cold snap. Heating a home sufficiently to keep water flowing normally through pipes only requires a temperature of about 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit inside the home.
Electric pipe wire is a more expensive but effective way to winterize plumbing. Pipe wire is a small copper wire that attaches directly to a pipe's exterior. Some brands embed the wires in a band of tape to make installing them easier. When electricity flows through the wire, it generates a small amount of heat due to resistance in the wire. Pipe wire is particularly effective at winterizing outdoor plumbing.