Prevent Frozen Pipes and Costly Plumbing Repairs
How to Prevent Costly Plumbing Repairs This Winter
In South Texas, we enjoy such moderate winter temperatures. It gets cold, but not as extremely cold as our neighbors to the north. The Gulf keeps our climate pretty moderate, and we don’t often think about potential Plumbing Repairs that arise with cold temperatures, such as frozen pipes.
It rarely gets cold enough to freeze pipes in Texas. While water freezes at 32 degrees, it usually must get closer to about 20 degrees before indoor pipes freeze. Pipes never freeze in Texas . . . until they do. A polar vortex brought extreme cold to Texas in February of 2021, and it stayed cold for a couple of weeks. In less than two weeks, tens of thousands of insurance claims were made for the damage from frozen pipes leading to costly Plumbing Repairs.
Often, the cold snap with the potential to freeze pipes also creates a power outage that knocks out the furnace. A few hours of frigid temperatures will cause the water to expand and create a small slit in the supply line. Since the water lines are mostly enclosed in the walls and ceilings of the house, detecting the leaks will be impossible until damage appears. If you are anticipating a temperature low enough to freeze pipes, here are some steps to take in preparation to reduce costly plumbing repairs.
An Emergency Plumbing Repairs Kit
Every home should have emergency supplies to handle a disruptive event that might last a few days. A power outage of a few days certainly qualifies.
- Enough drinking water for the entire family for at least three days. Additional water for cleaning and sanitation is also desirable.
- Ready to eat food for the family for at least three days. Ease of preparation is more important than a balanced meal.
- A first-aid kit customized for your family.
- Battery-powered lights, a clock, and a radio.
This is not a spur-of-the-moment preparation step but something that deserves consideration and planning. A whole-house generator will keep the home warm and prevent water lines from freezing.
Immediately Before the Cold
Cold fronts with such extreme temperatures are usually predicted well before they arrive, and the information is disseminated in preparation. Take the time to complete common-sense steps ahead of time.
- Make sure vehicles are fueled and ready for use.
- Charge cell phones, laptops, and other mobile devices. If portable chargers are available, make sure they are also ready.
- Turn the heat up several degrees in anticipation of a power outage.
Steps During a Cold-weather Power Outage
If freezing temperatures and icy conditions create a power outage, most of the preparation steps are common sense.
- Keep doors closed as much as possible to preserve the indoor heat.
- Open the doors for cabinets and vanities below the sinks, exposing the supply lines to as warm air as possible.
- Open the faucets of every sink and shower/tub slightly to keep the water moving. Moving water does not freeze. If the power outage lasts more than a few days, shut off the water supply and keep the faucets open.
Use Fireplaces Wisely
Wood or pellet-burning fireplaces or wood furnaces are beneficial during a power outage, but make sure to use them properly. A fireplace without an energy-efficient insert is a poor heat source for an entire house.
After Warmth Returns
Once the freeze danger has passed, an inspection of the supply network needs to be made. If the water supply is shut off, turn it on, but be ready to turn it off again at a moment’s notice. Look closely along the pathway of the pipes, ensuring that no leaks are evident. If a leak is found, shut off the water immediately and prepare for repairs. If nothing is evident immediately, continue to make observations to ensure no leaks develop slowly.
If would you like more information about how to prevent plumbing repairs, Doctor Cool Can Help!
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