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How to Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting in Extreme Weather

As you know by now, Austin is experiencing extremely cold weather this week. The temperature is expected to remain below freezing all week.

Frozen Water Pipes?

Many homeowners are unprepared for a sudden drop in temperature in Austin since the winters are typically mild. A cold snap can make water pipes freeze and cause potential damage to your plumbing system.

At 1st Home and Commercial Services, we recommend insulating all exposed pipes on the exterior of you home during periods of extremely cold weather to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

Indications of a Frozen Water Pipe

If you turn on a faucet and no water comes out or only a trickle of water comes out, we recommend taking immediate action to prevent the pipe from bursting. Identify the frozen pipe and trace the pipe from the faucet to a cold area in your home. A frozen pipe may have frost or ice on the outside, or appear slightly bulged.

Thawing a Frozen Pipe

Several techniques can safely thaw a frozen pipe if it is not hidden behind a wall. First, turn the faucet on so water frozen in the pipe can flow out. Using a high power hair dryer, heat lamp, small portable heater or electric pipe heat tape can thaw ice inside the pipe. If a frozen water pipe is hidden behind the wall, turn up the heat and/or use a small portable heater near the pipe.

Burst water pipe?

Turn off the main water valve, which is usually located near your water meter. Then contact a licensed plumber immediately.

Contact us at 1st Home and Commercial Services if you have a burst or frozen water pipe. We will quickly identify the source of the problem and repair your water pipes and plumbing fixtures. We’ll also recommend plumbing maintenance and tips to prevent further damage to your plumbing system. Whether you have a frozen water pipe, a burst water pipe, no hot water in your home or want to prevent a future plumbing problem, call 1st Home and Commercial Services for efficient plumbing service in Austin and surrounding areas.

Preventative Plumbing Tips

  • Insulate hose bibbs outside your home to prevent the pipes from freezing
  • Remove hoses attached to outdoor faucets
  • Insulate exposed pipes in areas of your home that are not heated such as an attic, basement or crawl space
  • Wrap electric pipe heat tape around pipes that are exposed in unheated areas of your home
  • Leave an interior faucet dripping slightly if the weather is expected to be below freezing for more than a few hours
  • Open the cabinet under your kitchen or bathroom sinks to help air circulate
  • Open attic doors and use a small space heater to increase the temperature in crawl spaces

Learn about backflow prevention and commercial plumbing maintenance tips in the next Plumbing Insights update, brought to you by the experts at 1st Home and Commercial Services.

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