Let’s face it. People don’t move to Central Texas to experience winter. So the idea of winterizing our homes’ plumbing systems isn’t the most important thing on our minds once November rolls around. This is Texas – we have football, after all.
But even in Texas, temperatures can get cold enough for long enough to burst a pipe.
And your first concern should be with the sprinkler system that maintains your lawn. Thanks to these timed watering systems, we can all have lush, green lawns, but if a pipe freezes and bursts it can be costly, both in terms of repairs and water consumption. In fact, once temperatures begin to flirt with freezing, you should consult your owner’s manual for instructions on how to purge the water from the lines so that there is nothing left in the pipes to freeze.
Other pipes that will obviously need attention are those connected to swimming pools, decorative outdoor fountains and ponds, and hot tubs. Best practices for taking care of these amenities include turning off the water at the source, draining pipes, and covering appliances to protect them from weather damage. To fully protect your outside plumbing, you should insulate your outside faucets and backflow systems to pools and hot tubs. Convenient, insulated faucet covers can be purchased at most hardware and home supply stores.
Garden hoses are the one of the most forgotten aspects of outdoor plumbing maintenance; ironically they are also the easiest to care for. Disconnect outdoor garden hoses and allow the water to drain from them. Roll them up or coil them neatly and store them in a shed or your garage. If you allow water to remain inside them and the water freezes you will most likely find yourself with a leaky hose in the spring.
In some older homes, it’s common to have water pipes along the outside of the foundation and in crawlspaces beneath the house. These pipes can be insulated, but if possible shutting off and draining the water out is a much better method of protection.
If you live in an older home that is not insulated as well as one with a more modern construction, you may want to open the cabinet doors under your kitchen sink to allow the warm air from your house to circulate around the pipes. Turning on the water to a slow drip can also help prevent freezing in the pipes.
And of course, if you have any winterizing questions or winter emergencies, give 1st Home and Commercial Services a call. We dispatch licensed plumbers to all parts of Austin, Buda, Kyle and San Marcos, Texas, and we would be happy to help you in any way possible.