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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Freezing temperatures are a rarity in the Houston area, but if a cold snap lasts long enough, it can result in damaged plumbing--particularly pipes and fixtures that are poorly insulated or exposed to the outdoors.

Frozen pipes can be a nuisance. They can also cost you a lot of money if they burst and lead to water damage in your home. If you notice that you have a frozen pipe, there are some things that you can do to thaw it out, and you can even use some preventative techniques if you're going to be out of town for a while.

Here are some of the best tips to prevent your pipes from freezing and a few to help you thaw them if it happens.

Use a Hairdryer

If you notice that a section of your pipes is frozen, use a hairdryer set on high to defrost the area. Leave the water running while you apply the heat from your dryer so that the running water can further break up an ice chunk. As a word of caution, never use a blow torch or other open flame near your pipes. Open flames are an obvious fire hazard. Plus, you can also cause your pipes to burst if the water inside begins to boil.

Remember Outdoor Pipes

Don't forget about the pipe that you hook your garden hose to in the summer. Since it's an exterior pipe, it's at even more risk of freezing and bursting. To prevent this…

  • Cut the water supply to any exterior pipes.

  • Turn the handles at the hose bibs to drain any remaining water.

  • Leave the faucets open throughout the winter to release pressure.

  • Place insulating covers over all hose bibs.

Insulate Your Pipes

One of the best ways to ensure that your pipes don't freeze is to put plenty of insulation around your pipes. Usually, this will entail putting extra padding around exposed pipes along exterior walls and in the attic and crawlspace.

Set Your Thermostat Before Vacations

Many people turn down their thermostats before leaving for the weekend or a vacation but don't turn it down too low. Make sure that it's no lower than 55 to 60 degrees so that your pipes still receive plenty of warm air.

Also, keep the water running at a slow trickle if the forecast calls for freezing temperatures.

Bottom line: Keeping your house safe and comfortable is a top priority, and having pipes that work well and won't burst is a basic necessity. You'll feel much more secure if you're confident that your pipes are properly insulated and heated for when cold fronts hit your area.

If you encounter any plumbing dilemmas, contact Pioneer Plumbing & Septic at (281) 815-2772.

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