When temperatures in Texas drop to freezing levels, it's crucial to protect your home's plumbing system from the risk of frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can burst, leading to expensive repairs and significant water damage. Here's a guide on how to prepare your house against frozen pipes during low temperatures in Texas.
1. Keep the Heat On
Even if you're leaving the house for a while, keep your heating system on and set to at least 55°F. This ensures that the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, stays warm enough to prevent freezing.
2. Let Faucets Drip
Allow a slow drip from faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or vulnerable areas. Moving water has a lower chance of freezing, and even a slight trickle can help prevent pressure buildup inside the pipes.
3. Insulate Pipes
Insulate your pipes, especially those in unheated areas like attics, garages, and basements. You can use foam pipe insulation available at any hardware store. For extra protection, consider using heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap the pipes.
Enhance Insulation R-Value
Increasing the R-value, or the level of insulation, in your home is an effective way to prevent frozen pipes. The R-value measures the insulation's ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation's effectiveness. By enhancing the insulation in walls, attics, basements, and crawl spaces, you create a more stable temperature throughout your home. This not only helps in keeping the house warmer without overworking the heating system but also slows down the heat loss from the interior to the exterior, buying you more time against the freezing temperatures outside. It's particularly important in protecting pipes that are located in the vulnerable zones of your home. Consider consulting with a professional to assess and improve the insulation in your home, focusing on areas where pipes are present to maximize protection against freezing.
4. Seal Leaks
Check around your home for any leaks or drafts near the pipes, especially where the pipes run through walls or where the water enters your home. Use caulk or insulation to seal these leaks.
5. Open Cabinet Doors
Open the cabinet doors under sinks and where pipes are to allow the warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to remove any harmful cleaners or chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
6. Drain Outdoor Pipes
Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Shut off the indoor valves that supply outdoor hose bibs and open the outdoor valve to allow water to drain. This helps prevent any water remaining in the pipes from freezing and causing a burst.
7. Keep Garage Doors Closed
If there are water supply lines in the garage, keep the garage doors closed as much as possible to maintain maximum heat.
8. Maintain a Steady Temperature
Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during the day and at night. During a cold snap, the extra cost of heating is minimal compared to repairing broken pipes and water damage.
9. Know How to Shut Off Water
Know where your main water shut-off valve is so you can turn off the water in case a pipe does burst. This will minimize flooding and give you peace of mind.
Preparing your house in Texas for low temperatures and avoiding frozen pipes requires a bit of effort and investment. However, the peace of mind and the prevention of costly repairs make these steps worthwhile. Stay ahead of the cold weather by taking these precautions, and keep your home safe and dry throughout the winter season.