Understanding Frozen Pipes
When you live in a part of the region where winters are cold enough for ice and snow, your pipes will be at risk of freezing if they are in anyway exposed to those temperatures without the proper protection. In order to make sure you are doing the best you can to prevent frozen pope related issues, you want to learn as much as you can about how things work and what can be done to protect them.
How the plumbing is laid out
Your plumbing pipes go throughout all different parts of the house, from the different sources of water, such as toilets, tubs and sinks through the walls and outside to exterior plumbing system. Some of your pipes are buried safely inside the middle of the home, such as where bathrooms are that are located in the middle area of the house. However, other pipes quickly go from an appliance to right outside. An example of this would be a kitchen sink where the sink is located on the other side of the home's exterior wall.
Freezing concerns you have to deal with
The pipes that go to the exterior of the house quickly are the ones you will have to have the most concern with when the temperature drops, as well as all exterior ones that aren't insulated. If they aren't properly insulated on the outside they can freeze. Also, another important thing to understand is if you allow the interior of your home to stay unheated during freezing temperatures, such as when you are on vacation, it puts all the interior pipes at a major risk of freezing too, which would be a very bad thing to have happen.
The easiest way to quickly insulate outside pipes is to put insulation tape on those pipes. As far as protecting inside pipes, keep the interior at a reasonable temperature during cold fronts. Also, leave the faucets with pipes near exterior walls dripping with a slow and steady drip; you want more than just an occasional drip but less than a stream. If the pipes are inside a cupboard, which is common with pipes leading to kitchen and bathroom sinks, then you want to open the cupboard doors so the heat from the house can easily get to them to help keep them warm.
What to do if your pipes have frozen
If you go to turn on the water and nothing comes out, then you can figure you have a frozen pipe. You want to make an emergency call to a plumber so they can come out and unfreeze the pipe in a slow and careful manner so it doesn't burst.