Katy, Texas plumbers – Pipe Preparation for Winter

Every winter a quarter of a million families experience frozen water pipes unnecessarily. For many, busted pipes can turn into expensive repairs with structural damage and even mold. Your best bet is to take steps to prevent it by utilizing the following tips or by contacting Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg for an on-site home evaluation of your pipes from one of our professional Katy, Texas plumbers who can assist you with making sure your home’s pipes are ready for winter.

The three causes of frozen pipes are poor insulation, sudden drops in temperature with exposure to cold, and a thermostat set to low. Begin your preparation in the summer months, when winter comes, a surprise freeze won’t catch you with frozen pipes!

Insulate exposed pipes in attic, crawlspace, yard or basement. Those that are exposed are the ones most likely to freeze. There is no such thing as using too much insulation. Insulating sleeves are available for pipes, you simply cut them to the length you need and slip them on through the slit which is self-sealing.  You can use thick fiberglass insulation; just remember not to wrap it tightly as this will cause it to lose insulating ability.

Also available are heat tapes or thermostatically controlled heat cables. Be sure they are approved by Underwriters Laboratory or someone similar. Use them only as indicated for exterior or interior and follow instructions. If you need help with any plumbing related problems, give BBenjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg a call today and our Katy, Texas plumbers will assist you.

Check for air leaks that are near water pipes.  You may find in a gap between walls and your homes foundation, dryer vents, ducts exiting walls and foundations or electrical wiring. Any hole no matter how small can cause a pipe to freeze. Seal them with the appropriate caulk, insulation or expanding foam. Do not however, seal air vents used by your hot water heater or furnace.

Outside water faucets are especially vulnerable. If yours have an inside shut off valve use it to shut them off. Disconnect garden hoses, drain them and store out of the weather. Allow the faucet to drain then cover it with foam spigot covers, or insulation and a bucket or waterproof bag. Do the same if you don’t have inside shut off valves to outside faucets. If your exterior faucets have a leak then have them repaired by Katy, Texas plumbers before winter to prevent a frozen faucet.

Don’t set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees F. Open cabinet doors under sinks and near appliances on exterior walls. If your pipes tend to freeze regardless, a trickle of warm water left running may be all it takes to prevent pipes from freezing. Sometimes, despite our best efforts an especially hard freeze can cause pipes to freeze. If this happens don’t panic. Never use a torch or other open flame to thaw a frozen pipe. This is a fire hazard and you can burn your house down! If you need assistance for frozen pipes, call Ben Franklin Plumbing and our Katy, Texas plumbers will help you.

You may be able to thaw a frozen faucet or pipe by using the warm air from a hair dryer. Move it back and forth over the pipe. Do not hold it in one spot as this can cause the pipe to burst. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as you can, then work your way back to the coldest section of the pipe.  Remember though, never use an electrical appliance in areas of standing water. You may be electrocuted. If pipes have already burst, once unthawed water can come rushing out. Be prepared to run for the main shut off valve and don’t throw the hair dryer into the water!

If water pipes have already burst, shut off water at the main water valve cutoff and call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg for assistance from our Katy, Texas plumbers. The cut off valve is usually located inside or near your water meter. Be aware, some houses have a main shut off at the house on the main supply line from the meter or where water comes into the house. Everyone in your household should know where your cut off valve is and how to cut it off. Furthermore, it is a good idea to manipulate the cut off valve off and back to on at least once a year to prevent it from seizing up.