Winter is just around the corner, and unless you live where the weather is warm year-round, that means we have to consider the risk of frozen pipes.
As the temperature drops further below freezing, that risk increases. If you do not take proper precautions, your pipes can freeze.
Pipes naturally expand when frozen, which can lead to a massive leak or even cause the pipes to burst.
Repairing Broken Pipes is Expensive
Replacing fractured plumbing can be an expensive repair, often costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on what kind of material your pipes are made from, where the break occurred and how extensive the damage is.
If you rent your house, keep in mind that you could be stuck with the bill because since you didn't take the proper precautions, the damage is considered to be your fault.
Prevention is Easier And Cheaper Than You Might Think
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent your water pipes from freezing. Taking these precautions will cost you far less money than replacing damaged pipes. (Remember, prevention is always cheaper than repair.)
Allow Your Faucet to Drip
Turn on both the hot and cold water to the point where the water begins to come out in a solid stream. This is the simplest and cheapest prevention method, and helps keep a steady flow of water going to keep your pipes warm enough to prevent ice from forming.
Use a Space Heater to Keep Your Pipes Warm
A space heater aimed directly at your pipes creates radiant heat that helps prevent ice from forming.
Remember the Basement and Crawlspaces
The plumbing in your basements or crawlspace is especially vulnerable. Since heat rises, there will be far less heat in your basement or crawlspace than in the upper floors of your house. Pay special attention to any pipes located inside basements and crawlspaces.
Disconnect Water Hoses from Outdoor Spigots
Water hoses often trap excess water, which can freeze and travel into outdoor water spigots as the problem becomes worse, and will eventually cause the spigot itself to break.
Use the Recirculation Valve if You Have One
The plumbing in some Austin homes may be equipped with a hot water recirculation valve. This type of valve uses thermal convection to detect when the temperature of the pipes drops below a certain threshold.
Once this threshold is reached, the valve will continuously recirculate hot water through both your cold and hot water pipes, preventing your pipes from freezing.
Following these simple steps can potentially save you a lot of money and inconvenience. Please take the time to take these simple precautions.
However, in the event that your pipes do freeze, you can thaw them with a hair dryer, electric space heater, or heat lamp.
If you see any leaks or splits in your pipes, do not try to fix them yourself, especially if you do not own your Austin home. Call a plumber instead. You might make the problem worse, which will result in a much higher plumbing bill.