North Texas might not see winter weather that often, but when it does, it happens the Texas way- big! The 2011 Super Bowl Snowmageddon and the Denton Deep Freeze of 2013 are reminders that Texas weather can pack a wintery punch.
It’s important to remember your plumbing when the weather gets cold. Extreme cold can cause pipes to burst and a broken pipe can cause a homeowner anywhere from $350 to $2,000 in damage to your property.
Why do pipes freeze?
Water expands when it freezes, but frozen water isn’t the only reason a pipe can burst. Often times a pipe will burst in an area where there is little or no frozen water. The reason is because of a pressure difference in the pipe. Ice inside of the pipe can cause it to seal off and build up pressure between the ice blockage and a faucet at the end of the line. A change in pressure means you’re at a higher risk for a busted pipe.
How cold does it have to be?
Especially in Texas, any freezing weather should be a warning for homeowners to watch out for their plumbing. In many northern states, the pipes are inside the insulation of the home, but that might not always be the case in Texas where pipes can be outside of insulation or heated areas of the home. Research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois shows that pipes start freezing at 20 degrees, so keep on eye on the temperatures when they begin to drop. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
How to keep pipes from freezing?
The long-term solution to keep pipes from freezing is to make sure the pipes are not in vulnerable places like the attic or in crawl spaces. If you are building a new house or have a particular problem area in an existing home, a plumber can evaluate your pipes to see if re-routing them would be a feasible solution.
Other short-term solutions include wrapping exposed pipes with insulation to keep them from losing as much heat in the cold weather.
Letting faucets drip in extremely cold weather also helps. Not only does it keep water moving with a slow flow, but it also relieves the pressure on the faucet end of the pipe to prevent a pressure buildup within the line.
Strittmatter Plumbing can asses your plumbing situation and any plumbing problems you might have. A plumbing tune-up will identify any potential problems of issues your system might have. Call (972) 436-6585 for more information or with any questions.
Everyone stay warm this winter!