Winters tend to be fairly mild in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but we still get our share of chilly days and freezing cold nights. That can catch a number of homeowners by surprise, especially when it comes to frozen pipes. They’re not as common here as they are further north, but they do happen. And because we don’t use as much insulation in our homes as communities to the north do, pipes in our homes tend to be more vulnerable. When it comes to frozen pipes, an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure, and the more you can do to avoid the issue, the better off you’ll be.
Why Are They a Problem?
The obvious problem with frozen pipes is that they cut off the flow of water to the affected outlet. But the real issue is far more damaging. Ice expands as it freezes, which places a huge amount of pressure on the pipes themselves. That can easily lead to a breach, especially with older pipes or those that have suffered corrosion or damage. Frozen pipes are bad enough, but if they burst, they will send freezing water and ice throughout the surrounding material. That can turn a comparatively minor issue into something expensive and time-consuming to deal with. And it often takes place when you’re ill-equipped to deal with it: such as in the middle of the night, on the weekend, or while you’re at work or school.
How Can I Prevent Them?
An easy way to prevent frozen pipes is to turn your outlets on just a trickle, allowing water to flow from the pipes and reducing the chances that ice will form inside. Other steps involve a professional plumber, who can help in a number of ways.
The first step is identifying the places where frozen pipes are most likely to occur. This usually means pipes that run through walls without much insulation, and those running in exterior walls where cold temperatures from outside can affect it easily. They can also occur in parts of the home that don’t get a lot of heat, such as the basement or garage.
One of the easiest ways to prevent frozen pipes is to add insulation to the walls around the pipes. Few homes in the area have as much insulation as they need, and adding more can save money in the summer by keeping cool air in the home just as well as it keeps warm air in during the winter. Most importantly, it can help keep the pipes safe from the cold and ensure that the water inside never freezes.
In some cases, an insulating sock or similar device can be placed directly on the pipe to keep it warm. And you might also consider the installation of an automatic shut-off valve that cuts off the water to your system if the pipe bursts. It won’t stop the problem, but it will contain the damage.
For quality plumbing services in the Dallas, TX area, call on Earthwise Home Services today.