With the onset of winter and falling temperatures, it’s wise to think about your plumbing and the steps required to protect your pipes from the cold weather. Freezing temperatures, winter storms, and ice build-up happen even in North Texas, and your pipes aren’t immune to the inconvenience and damage of frozen pipes. Fortunately, a few steps make it simple to reduce your chances of frozen pipes!
What Causes Pipes to Freeze?
Obviously, freezing weather is the culprit, but are certain pipes more prone to freezing than others?
Most pipes that fall victim to winter weather are located outside or in colder parts of structures. They’re especially vulnerable if they are not used often, as there is no regular water flow to prevent a frozen blockage.
Keep an eye on and follow the steps below for pipes in your:
- Crawl spaces
- Swimming pool
- Water sprinklers
Metal pipes can be particularly susceptible, as they conduct the cold more effectively than their plastic counterparts, causing the water within them to rapidly drop in temperature.
Why Are Frozen Pipes a Problem?
The main issue with a frozen water pipe is that water expands as it freezes, putting significant pressure on the pipes that contain it. This can loosen joints and deform, or even crack, sections of pipe.
Once the water thaws, it can begin to leak through the affected areas, leading to:
- Escalated water bills
- Damage to your home
The quick freezing and thawing that happens in North Texas can be tough on pipes.
How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing
Thankfully, there are simple ways to prevent your pipes from freezing. Follow these steps before cold weather arrives, so you can be properly prepared.
1. Insulate Your Pipes
Any exposed pipes should be insulated. This is generally called winterizing. By layering the pipes with insulation, you reduce the risk of the water inside freezing.
First, locate all places inside and outside your house where water pipes can be bothered by inclement weather.
Gather your insulation materials. You can purchase them online or from a home improvement store. Or you can simply use old rags or towels or some newspaper to do the job. The material should be something that can provide respectable insulation.
Wrap pipes with your material, then wrap that in a plastic bag, and secure it all with a rubber band. This system not only help keep the faucet and water pipe dry and warm, but the plastic bag and rubber band will keep the insulation material secure.
2. Let the Faucet Drip
When the weather forecast predicts freezing temperatures, it’s a good idea to leave your faucets turned on just a little bit, so the water drips or trickles through. Although this wastes a bit of water, it reduces the chances of the connected pipes becoming clogged with ice particles. It can even prevent a burst pipe.
Many believe that flowing water prevents the water in the pipe from freezing altogether, but it actually helps in a different way. An open faucet provides relief from the building pressure that mounts up between the faucet and any ice blockage that might occur. If you remove the excess water pressure, you reduce the chance of a burst pipe, even if there is a little frozen water inside.
3. Spread the Warmth
Another useful way to warm up your pipes is to keep the cabinet doors under your sink open. This allows the heat in your house to come in contact with your pipes.
If you have children or pets, make sure to remove any potentially hazardous and harmful materials you usually store under the sink, and place them elsewhere.
4. Don’t Forget the Faucets Outdoors
Outdoor water faucets need to be turned off and completely disconnected. Outdoor faucets are more exposed to frost, and, unlike indoor faucets, a supply of water constantly flowing through them is not recommended. Outdoor faucets are especially designed to cut off water flow in the wall where the temperature is warmer. You can and should winterize these faucets and pipes by wrapping insulation materials around them.
Water sources generally found in back- and side yards include:
- Swimming pools
- Outdoor hose bibs
5. Use Your Plumber
The best protection you can give your plumbing system in preparation for winter is to arrange a visit from your plumber. If leaks in your pipes can be spotted and rectified now, before the weather turns colder, you’ll avoid wasted water and higher bills through the winter.
Your plumber can also let you know exactly where in the plumbing system you need insulation. Their assistance can ensure you don’t miss a spot and run into high repair bills even though you tried to be prepared. Let them know about any interior or exterior plumbing you’re concerned about.
Now is the time to prevent pipes from freezing. The winter weather in North Texas can be surprising! Don’t let a cold snap hit you unprepared and cost you. By following these simple tips on how to keep your pipes from freezing, you can enjoy a worry-free winter.
Ready to schedule a check-up appointment for your plumbing system? We’re happy to help! Our maintenance check can ensure everything is in working order, and our and preventive measures will give you peace of mind. Call C&W Plumbing at 972-395-2597 to schedule your appointment before the temperatures drop.
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