Each winter we receive numerous calls to repair or replace broken and frozen exterior water lines, pipes, backflow preventers, landscape irrigation pipes and vacuum breakers due to expansion and contraction of dissimilar materials caused by freezing or sub-freezing temperatures.
Some simple, do-it-yourself, protective measures may prevent a visit by your friendly and sometimes expensive plumber.
If you plan on being away for the holidays, leave your furnace on a "low" setting while you are gone to prevent a ruptured pipe and possible flood while you are away.
NOTE: Do not use an insulation blanket on a gas or propane fired water heater. The blanket can interfere with the necessary oxygen/air supply and result in a flame-out of the the burner heating element. Insulation blankets may be wrapped around electric operated water heaters.