Here in Texas, most people assume it is hot year-round. That’s not the case, though. As residents, we know that temperatures may drop drastically during the winter and at night. Then, like many other regions of the country, our plumbing systems go on the fritz. It is a hassle, but it can be dealt with. This holiday season, before temperatures drop too low, consider preparing your pipes. By winterizing your plumbing system, you ensure a significantly reduced risk of water damage and expensive plumbing repairs. Winterizing is a small, proactive step towards a happy, healthy home.
Prepare Your Plumbing
Inside your home, you have likely taken steps to reduce discomfort and sickness due to cold temperatures. Outside your home, winter is beginning to settle into the area. It’s getting cold. In this climate, even with the drop in temperatures, rain is commonplace. Rain mixed with freezing temperatures is no laughing matter. At home, your plumbing is likely to take the brunt of the damage. Any exposed pipes may freeze over and ultimately burst from the pressure. Here are a few key steps to prevent your pipes from freezing:
- Start by preparing any outdoor faucets; remove the water hose and store them indoors for the winter.
If you have any plumbing leaks inside or outside your home, spend some time to repair them now.
- Any exposed pipes along exterior walls or leading outdoors should be wrapped in plumbing insulation before temperatures drop below freezing. Your local hardware store should offer a selection of insulation or heat tape designed to prevent frozen pipes.
- Your home’s water heater should be properly maintained year-round. During the winter, an efficient water heater could make or break your plumbing system. Schedule a tune-up today.
- The same goes for your home’s furnace. Schedule a thorough inspection, maintenance, and cleaning with an expert for the best results.
Signs of Frozen Pipes
The entire point of preparing your home, especially the plumbing system, for winter is to avoid frozen pipes. It happens, though, and one weak or overlooked pipe can lead to extensive damage. There are signs to watch for, should your pipes freeze over during the winter. If any of these situations occur, call an expert plumber immediately for service:
- Odd odors stemming from the faucet or drain
- No water coming from the pipes
- Noticeable frost on the pipes
- Incorrect water temperatures
A lack of running water is likely to be the first sign you notice. Unless you take routine trips outdoors to examine your plumbing, you may not notice frost.
Once you know your plumbing has frozen over, you need to act quickly. Time is truly of the essence here. First, contact a certified plumber. Then, consider taking a few steps yourself. For instance, you may wrap the frozen pipe in warm towels or turn on the hot water. However, do not use an open flame.