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How to Protect Your Pipes from Freezing During Winter

It dropped down to the 30s early this morning in the Houston area. That means that frozen pipe problems are not too far away.

Make sure you’re prepared for winter’s freezing temperatures with these frozen pipe prevention tips:

HOW TO PREVENT FROZEN PIPES THIS WINTER

  1. Disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses and water sprinkler lines following manufacturer instructions. Make sure the garden hose is detached, the faucet is drained, and the inside shut-off valve supplying the outdoor plumbing is closed.
  2. Consider buying pipe insulation material, such as a “foam pipe insulation” or “heat tape,” to the water supply lines in unheated areas of the home: crawl spaces, basements, garages, attics, and under cabinets. Newspaper can be used as a cheap alternative insulation material. Hot and cold water pipes should be insulated.
  3. For longer term solutions, consider adding extra insulation to your basement, attic, and walls. Not only will you save money and energy, but by maintaining higher temperatures in unheated areas of the home, you will also help prevent pipes from freezing.
  4. Do not turn the heat off when you leave the home. If you leave your home for extended periods of time, make sure your thermostat is set no lower than 55°F.
  5. During freezing temperatures, open up all of your faucets to allow a slow trickle of hot/warm water. The warm, trickling water creates movement and reduces pressure in the pipes to help prevent freezing.
  6. Also during freezing temperatures, open up your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around your pipes.
  7. If you know which pipes are most prone to freezing, consider placing a portable space heater nearby.
  8. Keep your garage door closed in the winter to prevent the pipes inside from freezing.
  9. There are some pipes that are simply too hard to reach. If you need help insulating your pipes for the winter, call the professional plumbers at Universal Home Experts.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • Keep your faucets open while you are thawing your pipes. It will help melt the ice.
  • Different ways of thawing your pipes include: wrapping an electric heating pad around the frozen section, using an electric hair dryer, wrapping a towel soaked in hot water, and portable space heaters.
  • NEVER use an open flame to thaw your pipes, kerosene or propane heaters, blowtorch, or charcoal stove.
  • Apply the heat until the pipe(s) are fully thawed. If you cannot thaw the pipes completely or cannot locate the source of the frozen pipe, call a licensed plumbing contractor.

For a recap:

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Source: Pennsylvania American Water Company


Universal Home Experts is your trusted source for all of your plumbing, electrical, and HVAC needs. We service the entire Houston area.

Don’t forget to schedule your annual heating maintenance check-up. It will extend the life of your HVAC system, increase energy efficiency, and ensure your warranties remain valid. Our lines are open 24/7 at (713) 364-0226.