(NewsUSA) - Winter has a certain amount of charm that comes with it -- from sledding and outdoor ice skating to snowmen and brightly lit trees. But when icy weather hits, and your pipes are ill-prepared, it can mean a long (and costly) spring.

Here's what happens: When temperatures drop, trapped water in pipes can freeze. Since water expands when it freezes, it can cause the pipes to rupture. When the pipes thaw, that's when homeowners might come home to a flooded basement.

Instead of waiting before it's too late, now is the time to insulate your pipes before the cold weather returns. Do it in the comfort of warm weather at your leisure so you're not rushed when the cold weather arrives.

Insulate pipes

This action step performs double duty, keeping hot water pipes warm and protecting cold water pipes from freezing, which can lead to immediate energy returns. Homeowners with existing insulation should check it before the cold weather comes to town. If either the insulation or its tape looks cracked or crumbles to the touch, it should be replaced. If the pipes have either wire or tape heaters, homeowners should contact the pipe heater's manufacturer before attempting to insulate pipes.

Old Man Winter

As a homeowner, you most likely will not be needing your hose or sprinklers this winter season. To that end, drain and store your lawn and gardening supplies before the first freeze. Even well-insulated homes reach freezing temperatures if left unheated.

Anti-leak technologies

Like any other industry, new technology is being developed to prevent water damage. One product, the FloLogic System, acts like a circuit breaker for the home plumbing system. The FloLogic system monitors a home's entire water flow from a single position on the water main. When the flow through the system's sensor exceeds a preset limit, the system shuts off the water and sounds an alarm at the keypad. If connected to a security system, FloLogic will notify the monitoring service. Shutting off the water prevents flooding, saving you from potentially costly repairs. Many insurers will also offer discounts to homeowners who use the FloLogic System.

If, however, a pipe is already frozen, homeowners should turn off the water, slowly thaw the pipe, then call a plumber to make necessary repairs.

For more information about the FloLogic System, and protecting your home from water damage, visit www.flologic.com or call 1-877-FloLogic.