Southeast Texas doesn’t experience a lot of severely cold weather, but when it does, get ready! One of the biggest concerns when temperatures drop down into the 20’s is burst water pipes. Since most homes built in the area have the water pipes located in the attic space, which then drop down into the walls to service the faucets, the pipes located in the attic are subject to the extreme freezing temperatures. This is especially the case when the freezing temperatures occur for longer than a few hours.
Below are some of the steps you can take as a responsible homeowner to help prevent the pipes from bursting:
- One of the most important recommendations is to keep your home heat set at 55 degrees or higher.
- Wrap pipes with insulation or other material as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Allow water to run at a steady drip or dribble during the freezing temperatures – be sure the drains are clear and not subject to backing up!
None of these steps are guaranteed to work, but they may help lessen the possibility of the frozen pipes occurring.
It’s also a good idea to keep bottled water on hand in the event your pipes do burst, and you must shut off water to your home until the pipe(s) can be repaired. Paper plates, plastic utensils and the name and number of a good plumber are also helpful! Since these events are usually very taxing on the electric grid, it is not unusual to experience rolling blackouts, so you want to give that consideration during your preparations as well.
If you are going to be out-of-town, ask a friend or family member to check on your house often to ensure the heat is running and there are no issues with the pipes unexpectedly discharging water into your home.
Travelers Insurance Company offers this information about protecting your water pipes in the winter:
“Freezing temperatures can be especially damaging to your home’s water piping. Make sure your pipes are adequately prepared to withstand a cold snap and remember to take extra precautions if you are going to be leaving your home, including shutting off your water.
Check for water leaks and fix problems immediately; wrap water piping in UL-Listed heat tape and insulate if it is exposed in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces or attics. Use only thermostatically-controlled heat tape if your water piping is plastic, and follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
Learn how to shut off your water and know where your pipes are located in case they do freeze; you may be able to prevent water damage.”
Even though accidental water damage may be covered by your homeowners insurance policy, it is important to mitigate any damage or loss as soon as it occurs. You should then follow up with your insurance agent to file a claim. At Fulshear Insurance®, we are always happy to assist you with your insurance needs.
Other Resources for Preparing the 4 P's - Pipes, People, Pets and Plants: