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Protecting Your Home for the Winter

Winter Is Coming Make Sure Your Home Is Suitably Prepared

It may not seem like it but winter is just around the corner. Winter can cause serious problems for homeowners, with frozen pipes being particularly problematic. Getting your home prepared early can pay dividends, and this article is intended to help you to avoid any problems later in the year.

Frozen pipes are by far the biggest potential disaster, as not only will you lose running water in your home, but the damage that can be caused can run into the thousands of dollars.

During the winter time, we receive many plumbing calls to fix frozen and burst pipes. It happens quite frequently here in north Texas. When we have a long freezing spell with a wind chill, our water lines are prone to being attacked by the cold.

There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of problems happening

  1. Make Sure To Insulate All External Pipes Properly – The biggest risk for any pipe is when it is exposed to sub-zero temperatures. As those pipes have water flowing through them, the water will freeze, expand and then cause the pipe to break. Find all of your exposed piping and insulate it properly using foam pipe insulation covers, which you can buy from any hardware store. If you get caught out by a sudden spell of bad weather, and cannot get to the hardware store, you could use old blankets, or even newspaper. The trick is to try and protect your pipes from the worst of the conditions. Here is a product that slips over the hose spigot, available from the Home Depot.
  2. Disconnect All Of Your External Water Hoses and Appliances – If you have hoses that are stored outside, then drain the hoses of all water, as this will prevent problems during the winter. Also take this opportunity to find out exactly where your waterline enters your premises, so that you can turn off the water quickly should a pipe indoors burst.
  3. Make Sure Your Home Is Kept Warm, Even If You Are Not At Home – The cold and inclement weather conditions and the subsequent damage that can be caused takes little notice of your personal location. Although it may cost you a little extra in heating costs, it is worthwhile keeping your home warm, even if you are away for a few days. This will ensure that temperatures never fall below freezing point and should prevent any serious plumbing problems.
  4. Keep Your Cupboards Open – This may seem like a strange option, but keeping your kitchen and bathroom cupboards open will let the warm air gain easier access to your pipes. It might look untidy, but in extreme weather conditions, it is important to do everything possible to prevent disaster happening.
  5. Let Your Faucets Drip – This is another option which may seem strange, but turning your taps on just a little bit, so that they drip, will ensure water is flowing, which will help prevent the water freezing. The other benefit of this option is that it will give you an early warning system if the pipes do start to freeze as the tap will stop dripping.

What Action To Take Should Your Pipes Freeze

The first thing to do is not to panic. The quicker you can start the process of defrosting the pipes the better your chances of avoiding a burst. The best thing to do is to try and get heat to the pipes. This can be achieved by using a space heater, or in extreme circumstances a hair dryer. Work your way along the pipes from the faucet end and turn on the taps, to help the defrosting water escape. Just take your time, and use a safe heat source. If you are using anything electrical be careful as electric and water don’t mix.

What To Do When A Pipe Has Burst

If a pipe does burst, the first thing to do is turn off the water line. This will prevent more water entering the premises and at least minimize the damage caused.

Be very careful when looking at the damage especially if the water could have come in contact with electrical devices or the main power supply.

If you can find the broken pipe, make a decision – Can you fix the pipe yourself, or should you call in a plumber. If you need our help, we operate an emergency plumbing service and will be with you as quickly as we possibly can.

When it comes to winter remember

  1. Prepare your home properly.
  2. Know how to defrost the pipes if they do freeze.
  3. If a leak happens, turn off the water line quickly, and unless you are good at plumbing the experts at Staggs Plumbing right away.