Winter is upon us. And, as many Central Texans prepare for colder temperatures and wintertime festivities, it’s important to know how to insulate your pipes to prevent them from freezing. When water freezes, it expands, causing pipes to burst, meaning that frozen pipes can wreck your pipes, indefinitely. Once the temp drops below 32 degrees—even for a little while—you run the risk of a pipe fracture, or something else that only a plumber can fix. With those risks in mind, our Austin-based plumbing experts advise the following top tips to insulate your pipes, and get to doing what’s needed to guarantee a happy, stress-free winter.
It goes without saying that the best way to prevent freezing pipes is to prepare for the possibility of them freezing. That means looking at the pipes that might be vulnerable to cold temps—such as those on the outside walls and windows of your home—and taking steps to insulate and protect them. You can easily do this by installing insulation sleeves around your pipes, or using slip-on foam pipe insulation. Just be sure to cover them fully - not to leave any gaps without insulation—as even slight apertures can give way to freezing.In this short video, watch Johnny, one of our master Austin plumbers, explain how to properly insulate your pipes:https://youtube.com/shorts/o_3d6UK3XjsIt’s also smart to inspect the exterior of your home - ensuring that all cracks are sealed with proper caulking or spray foam, and that crawl spaces (should you have any) are also properly snug. Even a tiny hole can introduce a lot of cold air, making them vulnerable to freezing, so it’s important to make sure you fill in all the cracks. If you’re unsure about the best method for insulating your pipes, contact your plumber in Austin for the best recommendation, as they know the special challenges that can arise in Austin homes.
Another easily overlooked way to protect your pipes from freezing in winter is to maintain consistent heat inside your home. Set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit (or higher, if you live in an area susceptible to extreme cold) and never turn down the heat, even if you leave home.Fun fact: More than half of all Texans set their programmable thermostats between 70-75 degrees regardless of the season.Similarly, it can also help to insulate your external pipes, as well. Drain and cover your hose bibs, garden hoses, and sprinkler systems, and deactivate them with your shut-off valve. Moreover, know where your shut-off value is, before you need to turn it off. You can typically find it in your garage, basement, or laundry room, or even underground in your yard. After turning it off, be sure to turn on all your exterior faucets to let your water drain and to release the pressure in the pipes.
Here is a helpful video on where to find your shut-off valves: https://youtu.be/vteQv4XBSOY
Not sure the best method for insulating a particular pipe in or outside your home? Want to know the absolute best ways to ensure all your pipes are insulated and ready for winter? Contact us to learn more about how to best prepare and insulate pipes for the cold of winter, and to find out the best products money can buy to ensure you’re covered. We are also happy to winterize your pipes for you, if you prefer to have it done by a professional.
Concerned your pipes might be frozen already? Contact us for 24/7 emergency plumbing services.