Preventing Frozen Pipes

December is upon us and the cold weather is beginning to set in. Here in the greater Houston area, houses aren’t built to withstand the elements the way they are in northern parts of the country, so homeowners should take these additional steps to ensure their house makes it through the colder months unscathed.

One of the biggest issues with cold temperatures for a house is the danger of pipes freezing and bursting. Home builders are only required to bury pipes 12 inches below the surface, but some may go deeper. The chance of underground pipes bursting is relatively small, but the real danger lies where the pipes come out of the ground and enter the house. Wrap exposed pipes with spiral wrap insulation and seal with duct tape. You can find these materials at any home improvement store and they are very inexpensive.

Disconnect all garden hoses. A frozen garden hose that is connected to the spigot can cause the pipes inside the house to burst as the ice expands. Drain the spigot and cover with a faucet insulator – again, a very inexpensive item that is well worth it.

Check for pipes in your garage, crawl space and attic. These unheated areas of the home can also get very cold and the last thing you want is a burst pipe in the attic raining down cold water throughout your entire house! Wrap these pipes with spiral wrap insulation and seal with duct tape also.

If you’re travelling for more than a day or two, shut off the main water line to the entire house. (This is a good idea no matter what the season.) Empty each toilet tank by flushing it and drain every sink and outdoor spigot. That way there won’t be any water in the system to freeze while you’re gone (or toilet plumbing to break!). Set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees as well.

Despite the mild temperatures so far this fall, the cold is coming and it’s better to be safe than sorry!

  1. JP O'Grady Canary Gold 4:56