Plumbing Repair Brought on by Cold Temperatures
In South Texas, we are accustomed to moderately cold temperatures in the winter, but extreme cold is more common in our northern neighbors. However, the winter of 2021 changed our assumptions about winter temperatures with countless plumbing repairs across Southeast Texas.
Cold, arctic air pushed deep into Texas and surprised us. The combination of cold temperatures and power outages left many Texas homes with burst pipes and water damage.
There are many homeowner hacks that homeowners use to help prevent frozen pipes in climates that experience frequent temperature drops. Most are commonsense steps, but they may not be evident to people who have never experienced the bitter cold. Here are a few tasks that you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Winter Preparation Steps to Avoid Plumbing Repairs
A general step is becoming thoroughly familiar with your water supply network: know where the water supply enters your home and the path it takes for each faucet or appliance.
- The entry point might be the spot where it is most vulnerable to the cold. It should be well insulated and protected; however, if that is not the case, take steps to cover, insulate, and protect the entry.
- The shut-off valve should also be located at the entry point.
- Map out every faucet, toilet, shower, and appliance and locate the pipe that supplies them. This will be useful, should the pipes freeze. Areas of particular concern should be water lines in the attic or garage.
- Particularly note any outdoor faucet and water supplies to pools or hot tubs. If properly installed, they should be well insulated. Adding protection and insulation is always a good idea. Faucets that extend outdoors through an insulated wall should be 10” to 12” long to protect them from the cold.
- Shut off the water supply to outdoor appliances—fountains, pools, and hot tubs, and drain the supply lines.
Planning For a Power Outage
The real danger during arctic blasts is the possibility of widespread damage to the power grid. Losing power to the furnace allows the indoor temperature to drop quickly. Should your home experience a lengthy power outage, these steps can help prevent frozen and burst pipes and expensive plumbing repairs.
- Keep the garage door closed if the water supply enters the home from that location.
- Moving water does not freeze, so keeping the water moving during a power outage can prevent it from freezing inside the pipe. It only takes a light, steady drip to achieve this purpose. Make sure each faucet is dripping.
- Keep bathroom doors open and vanity cabinets open to allow warm air to flow where needed most.
- If the outage extends beyond a few hours, shut the water supply off at the entry point. Continue to allow the faucets to drip to prevent freezing.
- Remember, this action will expose the interior of the pipes to outside air, so when the power/water supply is restored, let the water run for flow for about 10 minutes.
Patching Up the Damage
If you do experience frozen pipes, it is vitally important to take steps to limit the damage.
- First, make sure the water supply is shut off at the entry. When the supply is turned on again, make sure someone is standing ready to turn the water off again.
- Second, walk the path of the supply route, looking for indications of water—drips, puddles, damaged drywall, and warped boards.
- A plumber should be called to repair the damaged lines. Once a repair is completed, turn the water on and inspect the network again. This process may need to be repeated several times until all the damage is repaired.
After each repair is completed, the wall, attic, or floor surfaces will need to be repaired or replaced, always an expensive proposition. For this reason, it is better to prevent burst pipes than to repair them.
No matter the size of the Plumbing Repairs, Doctor Cool can help!
Let Doctor Cool help with your Plumbing Repairs question before buying your home. Call Doctor Cool & Professor Heat today at 281-338-8751 or email Doctor Cool and let our professional Residential Plumber Contractors assist with all of your plumbing repairs questions.