Let’s begin with the absolute basics. During the winter, temperatures across the country typically drop to below freezing. Here in Texas, we often endure extreme cold at night. Despite our generally hot climate, freezing temperatures are more common than most consider for our region. As such, homeowners must protect their plumbing system from extensive damage caused by frozen pipes. A frozen pipe has the potential to burst, and the resulting water damage and expensive repairs can break a home apart. This winter, consider winterization for your pipes.
Pipe Winterization Preparations
This holiday season, start your home preparations by winterizing your plumbing system. The potential damage you’ll save yourself from is far too great to risk. First, make a detailed plan. If you’re set on doing everything yourself, a checklist can make a significant difference.
- Otherwise, call an expert – the preferred method will always be professional.Turn off the water to your home via the main water valve. Also, shut down the water pump and water heater, if you have either in your home.
- Open the drain valves and all taps. Be sure you do not miss any of the taps in your home. Even just one closed faucet can lead to a vacuum-like effect that traps water inside the pipes.
- Use an air compressor to blow standing water out of the pipes.
- Open the drain valve on the hot water heater and discharge it until the tank is empty. If you do not have a floor drain, consider using a garden hose to siphon water out of the house.
- Flush the toilets to remove any water you can from the tank.
- Check the sink and tub drains to ensure there is no standing water.
Again, these tasks are best performed by a professional plumber.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
- If you do not properly winterize your pipes, you risk frozen pipes, which lead to burst pipes. The resulting water damage can cause absolute chaos within your home. To prevent frozen pipes, consider these steps:
- Insulate all pipes leading to the exterior.
- Inspect your home for noticeable cracks and seal them as necessary.
- Keep a heat source inside the home to protect internal pipes.
- Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes there.
- Ensure your attic, crawlspace, and garage are adequately insulated to prevent dropping temperatures there.
- Remove the garden hose from your outside spigot.
If a pipe does freeze, do not freak out. Instead, use a warm towel or hair dryer to slowly thaw the pipe. If this does not work, call an expert plumber to handle the situation. A professional is generally better equipped and trained than the average homeowner to tackle such situations in the home.