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Protecting Your Pipes In The Winter

Protecting Your Pipes In The Winter

Although many homeowners think they know and understand everything related to water, plumbing, and cold temperatures, most cannot foresee or handle the plumbing issues that can occur inside and outside their homes. Water, plumbing, and cold temperatures can wreak havoc when least expected. Cleaning up and restoring normalcy can be a costly affair, particularly as it will require the services of professional Austin plumber.

According to Austin plumbing service providers, the issue of frozen pipes is rather common and can result in several problems including:

Restricted water flow: Frozen pipes usually prevent water from flowing into houses, which will cause faucets, toilets, and showers to cease functioning. Without flowing water in the house, life can be unbearably uncomfortable.

Water damage: Apart from cracking, frozen pipes can also burst open. In addition to flooding your home and raising your bills due to wasted water, cracked or burst pipes can cause water damage to your property. Fortunately, Austin plumbing contractors such as Texas AC and Plumbing Specialists can provide the necessary assistance to ensure you avoid all of the problems mentioned above.

Why Plumbing Systems Freeze
Plumbing systems freeze when water lines are exposed to temperatures that are below 32 degrees, the freezing temperature of water. During cold weather, the water contained in pipes will exert extreme pressure due to expansion. Every type of piping will burst under immense pressure, even metal pipes. However, outdoor plumbing lines and basement pipes usually suffer the most because they are often exposed to the harsh elements.

How to protect your pipes in winter
According to a top Austin plumber, homeowners can reduce or even eliminate the risk of frozen pipes as well as any other cold-weather threat by taking preventive measures. Apart from keeping them from freezing, protecting your pipes in the winter ensures you avoid the costly damages and water wastage associated with burst pipes.

Compared to other pipes, some are more likely to freeze because of their location. The most susceptible pipes are:
• Pipes in exterior walls
• Outdoor plumbing
• Exposed lines located in unheated areas

Preventative Measures
Outdoor plumbing
Compared to a busted pipe, a frozen garden hose has the potential to cause more damage since it can actually burst an interior plumbing line. As the water in your garden hose freezes, it will expand and increase pressure throughout your home’s plumbing system. You should, therefore, disconnect, drain, and store your garden hose before the first hard freeze. If you don’t have frost-proof taps, you should close the shut-off valve leading to that tap, and then install an insulator once you have opened and drained the faucet.

Exposed interior plumbing
Basement pipes rarely freeze because this part of the house is usually heated. However, plumbing lines in unheated areas like the garage, attic, and crawl space are likely to freeze. For moderately cold climates, foam pipe insulation is often enough while for severe climates, using thermostatically controlled heat tape that turns on at a specific minimum temperature to wrap the exposed interior pipes is recommended.

Under-insulated walls
Moisture build-up, mold, and water damage are signs that the pipes traveling in your exterior walls may have frozen in the past. Because improperly installed or inadequate insulation is usually the cause, opening up your wall and beefing up the insulation is advised. If this solution does not work, you may have to reroute the pipe.

If you won’t be home
If you intend to leave your home for an extended period during the winter, air conditioning maintenance and a few other measures are necessary to prevent frozen pipes.
• Shut off the main water supply before you open every faucet and flush all your toilets to drain your plumbing system.
• Conduct a basic heating maintenance exercise, which should include making sure your furnace is set to at least 55 degrees

Calling in plumbing and air conditioning maintenance experts such as Texas AC and Plumbing Specialists is recommended in extreme situations. As professionals, they will inspect your plumbing system, perform a thorough heating maintenance, and drain your water heater.

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