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Preventing Frozen Pipes in Houston

The key to preventing frozen pipes around your home is making sure your pipes do not get cold enough to freeze. Freezing temperatures can do a tremendous amount of damage to your home’s plumbing system. With the upcoming cold temperatures here in Houston, we wanted to make sure you’re prepared to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Here are five tips to help you avoid frozen pipes in your home:

1. Wrap Your Pipes.

Using pipe wrap insulation (foil backed fiberglass or cotton) as well as tubular sleeve insulation is very effective against freezing pipes. Make sure to use duct tape to secure the pipe wrap, and use plastic tie wraps to secure the insulation tubes to the pipe.

2. Leave the Water Dripping.

Leave a small amount of water running from each of your sink taps, and especially from any outdoor spigots. The constant flow of water warmer than 32 degrees prevents it from freezing.

3. Disconnect your garden hoses.

Garden hoses hold water in them after they are turned off. This water can freeze inside the tube and cause increased pressure to back up into your home. As the water freezes, it expands, causing cracks in outdoor spigots.

4. Open the Cabinets.

Opening the cabinets under your kitchen sink and beneath your bathroom vanities will allow warm air to circulate around the water supply pipes to these fixtures.

5. Leave the Heat On.

When you leave the house for work in the morning, or even if you’re just going out for a short amount of time, leave the heat in your home turned on. Turning off the heat when you go out can cause the uninsulated areas around your pipes to get cold enough to allow freezing further down the plumbing lines.

If your pipes freeze overnight, don’t panic. Here in Houston, it is rare that we experience what is called a “hard freeze” (temperatures 25 degrees or less for more than 4 hours). Chances are, as the temperature outside increases, your pipes will thaw on their own.

If you are in “hard freeze” conditions and your pipes freeze, you can apply heat (100-watt bulbs, hair dryer or a portable heater) to the supply pipes on the inside of your home. You can also wrap the pipes in hot towels, put salt down the drain of frozen sewer pipes.

Just because your pipes thaw out does not mean you’re entirely out of the woods. Freezing water expands, and can cause breaks in your pipes and fittings that will start to leak.

After a hard freeze, be sure to look around your home, underneath sinks and vanities for any wet spots that would indicate a leak. Be sure to look around outside your home for any new pools of water, or signs of leaks like small sinkholes.

To ensure your home’s plumbing system is free of leaks after the hard freeze in Houston, give Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services a call to schedule your complete plumbing system inspection today!

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