When trying to protect your pipes, consider the damage that can be caused by the wind. A wind chill is the “feels like” temperature after the wind is factored into the reading on a thermometer. Wind makes you feel colder when you walk outside; in the same way it will make water freeze faster and ice blockages form quicker in your pipes.
The size of the pipe carrying water into your home and the material the pipe is made of can factor into how quickly it freezes. These are relatively minor factors in a pipe bursting when compared to the absence of heat or pipe insulation that will expose your pipes to freezing air.
Many homeowners wonder at what magic temperature will cause your pipes to freeze. According to researchers at the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois, pipes will freeze when the temperature reaches approximately 20 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature dips into the teens, your pipes are very vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Ideally, pipes should never face temperatures in the twenty’s or teens.
If you are building a new home, try to keep the pipes in a well-insulated area. If you are considering renovations, plumbers will be able to re-route your at-risk pipes. This can be an expensive proposition; however, if your pipes continue to freeze and burst, it will save you money in the long run. If re-routing pipes is not a practical solution, consider using insulation sleeves or plugging holes that allow cold air into your home. You can get advice about these options at any plumbing supply store.