Prevent Frozen Pipes in Austin, TX

It’s Wintertime! Is Your Home Prepared?

It is that time of year when it could get cold enough to cause frozen pipes and do some damage. Remember last winter? There were not enough hours in the day for us to make all the repairs made necessary by the freeze. If it happened to you lasts year, what is your plan to stop it from happening again? I have a few ideas for you.

First off don’t typically see pipes freeze until the temperature drops below 28-29 for more than four hours or so. High winds could change that a little, but we don’t start seeing broken pipes until the temps dip below 29 Second thing is insulation may not save you. Sure it helps in a light freeze situation, but I am here to tell you. We had to cut off a lot of insulation out of our way to repair broken pipes last winter. Just because you have not had a broken pipe yet doesn’t mean you are freezeproof. Breaks occur because the water in your pipes expand, and stretch out the copper until it tears. Every time your copper pipe freezes it could be stretched. The next freeze it stretches again. Eventually the tear will occur. Then the leaking, the flooding, and the crying.  You get the idea!

The simple solution to avoid freezing is to run a trickle of water. Not very flashy i know. True, we are going out of our way to conserve water (free flapper deal), but this a sure way not to freeze. In reality a steady trickle for 12 hours or so might be a few hundred gallons, but a leaking flapper day after day = thousands of gallons in a short amount of time. Another rule of winter. Don’t turn off the heat in your house! Sure you want to save energy while you are out of town, but don’t turn it off. You can lower the thermostat to 50. It will save lots of energy, and your pipes. If your house is poorly insulated, you might want to open up your cabinet doors under the sinks. This will help get some of the house heat to those susceptible exterior walls.
One of the most common failures last winter were tankless water heaters mounted outdoors. Most tankless heaters have built in freeze protection, but that only works as long as they have power (the rolling blackouts were a killer last year). The other week spot on the tankless are the water lines to, and from the heater. These pipes are going to get it if you don’t run a little water. The trick with tankless water heaters is to run the water slow enough to not fire the heater. Most tankless have a minimum flow rate to fire the heater, and you should be able to trickle the heaters low enough that it doesn’t heat the water, and it doesn’t burn gas all night.
Hose bibs are a perennial favorite for Jack Frost to destroy. If your hose bibs are not the frost proof variety, DRIP ‘UM!

If you want to have us come out and look things over before the cold really sets in, GIVE US A CALL! Prevention is always cheaper than repairs.

Brad Casebier

Radiant Plumbing & Air Conditioning

2908 San Gabriel Austin Texas

If you are looking for plumbing or air conditioning service in Austin, Texas then please call (512)-948-3453 or complete our online request form.

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