When it comes to the weather here in Houston, we typically expect the temperature to range from warm to sweltering. Because of this, we often find ourselves blindsided the handful of times temperatures actually do drop down to freezing or below. A few weeks ago we experienced one of these very rare Houston freezes and I found myself inundated by calls from several of my clients letting me know they had busted pipes on their hands! This made it very evident to me that being unprepared for when and if it freezes can cause homeowners some massive headaches. However, there is some good news! With a few simple steps you can prepare yourself should Father Winter decide to hang around H-Town longer than expected.
It is a good rule of thumb to go ahead and disconnect all of your hoses when they aren’t in use during the winter months. Assuming that there is standing water in your garden hoses is a safe bet more times than not. Since water expands when it freezes, whatever water is left in your hose is going to seek a way out! This could easily lead to damage to your hose bib and could very well be the cause of burst pipes.
Wrap Pipes Correctly
Getting foam wrapped around your pipes is always a smart move, taking the time to make sure it is done correctly is even smarter! Since air at freezing temperatures is a huge ingredient in the recipe of burst pipes, you will need to make sure there is no air space or gaps. Be sure to tighten up the grip of the foam with duct tape to make sure it is a tight squeeze!
Keep Hose Bibs Covered
Keeping your hose bib covered is a great preventative move to make sure that air can’t reach the tap or the pipe. Covers come in all sorts of styles, and could even be something as simple as a towel or blanket that you already have in your home. It is important to remember to keep whatever cover you decide to use dry. A wet cover is pretty much useless in this scenario. Investing in a simple plastic covering for whichever bib cover you decide to use is a great insurance policy! Make sure to tighten down your cover with duct tape or zip ties.
Don’t Go With the Flow
The biggest culprit when it comes to burst pipes in Houston is undoubtedly the backflow preventer on a homeowner’s sprinkler system. Given that these guys hang out above the ground, they are the most exposed to the elements. Luckily, this is an easy thing to address. First you will want to turn off the supply valve and then the feed valve. After that, turn the relief valves at a half turn. Start with the one at the top, followed by the one at the bottom.
It is so easy for those of us down here in the great city of Houston to be caught by surprise when pipes bust. Unlike our friends up north, this isn’t an issue that stays at the front of our minds. However, with a few easy steps we can keep ourselves removed from the stress that comes along with busted pipes!