Avoid Frozen Pipes This Winter

fixing burst or frozen pipesWinter is now upon us in Texas, and we are all bundling up with warm clothes and winter jackets while we crank up the heat in our homes. While it may not come to mind quickly, one area of our homes that also depends on not freezing is our pipes.

 

The Challenge of Frozen Pipes

Wondering why you should care so much about how to avoid frozen pipes this winter? As temperatures around the area dip into the 20’s and teens at night, our pipes become very susceptible to freezing. Frozen pipes not only clog water flow during, but they can also cause cracks and cause your pipes to burst. There’s nothing worse than going away for a brief vacation only to return to a flooded house!

 

Of course, if your pipes are frozen and then burst, you have the expense associated with the pipes as well as the flooding to deal with! And even a few inches of standing water in your home can lead to huge amounts of damage. Now you’re not only calling the plumber but the restoration company as well.

 

5 Steps to Avoid Frozen Pipes This Winter

There are many very easy steps homeowners can take to protect their pipes from freezing. This might not be a big concern if you’re around all winter, but what if you plan to go out of town for the holidays or a short vacation? Here are a few of our best do-it-yourself tips to avoid frozen pipes this winter if you will be away from home for a few days:

  1. Open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors. This will allow warm air to continue to circulate around the pipes under your sinks.
  2. Allow faucets in your home, both hot and cold, to drip slowly. This will not only help prevent your pipes from freezing, but will also relieve pressure from your pipes in the case that they do become frozen while you are away, and decrease the chances of the pipes bursting.
  3. Leave the heat on in your home. Try setting your heater to the coldest possible temperature to save electricity. Usually you can set your thermostat to approximately 55ºF, which will help keep your indoor pipes from freezing.
  4. Walk around your house: inspect the crawlspaces in your attic and basement, and search your garage for any exposed pipes or pipes that are not insulated. Have these pipes insulated before you leave for your trip.
  5. Disconnect all hoses from outdoor faucets and place insulating domes around the faucets to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

 

One Final, Important Tip

One of the best tips we can offer, especially if you will be away for a few days this winter, is to simply shut off your water main valve and drain the waterlines in your home by opening the faucets in your home. No matter what happens to your pipes while you are away, shutting off your main water valve will be the biggest factor in preventing serious water damage inside or around your home, and also prevent a massive water bill. Even if you will only be gone one night, it’s a good idea to shut off your water main to avoid frozen pipes this winter.

 

What Do I Do If My Pipes Freeze?

If you come home from your holiday trip, turn on your water main valve, and you notice that water is just barely trickling out of your faucets, this is a good sign that you have water frozen in your pipes somewhere. Try not to panic, though. Just leave your faucet turned on to allow the water to move through the pipe; this should allow the pipe to thaw shortly.

 

If you come across a major leak in your home, or suspect a more serious problem, shut off your water main valve. Then give us a call at Staggs Plumbing, where we can help you clean up the leak and get water flowing correctly again.