Pipe freezing is a common problem experienced by most home owners in cold climate areas. When water freezes, it expands the same way a can of soda bursts explodes when placed in a freezer for a length of time and forgotten. It is not the frozen ice that causes the water pipe to burst. Where ice has formed in a pipe, blockage occurs and water accumulates creating intense pressure that can cause bursting. Water can even retreat back towards the source and build great pressure that result into pipe failure.
In mitigating the problem of freezing pipes, one should not expose the heat in the water pipes to come into contact with the subfreezing air. All the cracks and holes that may be near water pipes need to be sealed with caulk in order to prevent cold air from coming into contact with the pipes. Cabinets normally keep warm air from coming into contact with water pipes. It is thus very safe and advisable to keep all the cabinets doors closed to keep away the cold air during cold spells.
Another way that you can prevent your water pipes from freezing is trying to let the water in your pipes run after certain intervals. This drips out the water that is trying to freeze in your pipe. Dripping faucets also reliefs the excess pressure that can build in your piping systems. Running faucets should be left for those pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces as they are more vulnerable to freezing.
This problem of pipe freezing however requires one to be well equipped with proper knowledge on how to deal with it before contacting a plumber. Be aware of the location of the main shut off valve such that in case you suspect any sign of blockage or freezing, then shut off the main valve. Thawing a frozen pipe with an open flame can damage that pipe and may result in worse situation. Consider thawing a pipe using a dry hand dryer. It is safe to prevent the problem of freezing pipes in advance than waiting for it to occur because when it comes, it normally leaves you with the least time to act.