Serving the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex
With winter coming, it is time to prepare. In freezing weather, pipes can burst and cause flooding and water damage. Certain pipes are more likely to freeze than others. These are pipes that are in unheated parts of the house, exterior piping, and any plumbing that is outside the home.
Because the whole plumbing system is connected, it is necessary to look at both inside and outside pipes. If an outside hose freezes, it can end up bursting an interior pipe. The frozen water increases pressure throughout the plumbing system, and can burst a pipe. Because of this, outside garden hoses need to be drained, disconnected, and stored.
To prepare and drain an outside garden hose properly, first shut off the valve leading to the faucet. Then drain the spigot. Then install a faucet insulator. These are usually quite economical to purchase. Think of any and all outside pipes that need to be winterized. There might be an outdoor kitchen or laundry room. There may be spigots and hoses used for watering the lawn and garden in the summer. Winterize them all.
Another thing that can be done is to insulate the pipes. You can use foam pipe insulation. There are also pipe wraps made of heat tape that can be thermostatically controlled. To see if something needs to be insulated this year that was missed last year, look for water damage and mold caused by moisture. It might be necessary to open a wall and improve the insulation.
If a home is in a very cold climate, it might be necessary to reroute a pipe. By moving it and properly insulating it, it may protect against a burst pipe in cold winter. Of course, this is a job for your local plumbing contractor or plumber.
If the home is a second home, a summer home in the northern states, winterizing is especially important. It is necessary to make sure that pipes are well insulated before going south. The main water supply needs to be shut off. The system must be drained by opening faucets and flushing toilets. If the winters get very cold, a plumber can come out and drain the hot water system and make sure the pipes are empty as well. He may add nontoxic antifreeze to the pipes. In addition, the furnace should be no lower than 55 degrees.
Make sure your pipes are ready for winter, and have a plumber help you if necessary, in order to avoid the damage caused by burst pipes.