However, there are some advantages to using copper pipes. Simon says if your home uses city water, copper won’t rust and should last for decades. Ward says PEX tubing don't look very appealing in rooms with exposed pipes. “For mechanical rooms, you can square the copper and make it look pretty,” he says.
If your home has copper piping, Simon recommends walking around the outside of your home to make sure there are no gaps or holes near pipes in your siding. If you have had a certain faucet freeze in the past, turn the water on to a slight drip because running water doesn’t freeze.
If you are plan to travel for an extended period of time, Simon says to consider shutting the main water off and opening some faucets, to avoid coming home to a burst pipe.
Ward says changes to the building codes in Tennessee, have made frozen water pipes less common. For example, plumbers can't install a waterline in an outside wall. Pipes are required to come up through the floor or a false wall. However, he says if you do get a frozen pipe, the most important thing to do is figure out why it occurred and try to prevent it from happening again.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story originally posted on January 17, 2014.