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January 23, 2019
You may not feel it underneath the warm comforter on your bed, but the nights have been getting cold here in Lawton and Wichita Falls. Hopefully, your well insulated and heated home hasn’t made the bitter sub-freezing temperatures an issue for your day-to-day life. But if your home’s plumbing is “left out in the cold,” so to speak, it could turn into an expensive and severely inconvenient issue for your family—unless you are taking the proper considerations!
Our Pippin Brothers technicians have spent the last 40 years keeping the homes of our neighbors more comfortable, energy efficient, and resilient to disaster. But when we’ve seen the damage from frozen pipes devastate the pocketbooks and infrastructure of homes in Wichita Falls, TX and Lawton, OK, it pains us to know that it could have been prevented so easily!
How Pipes Freeze
Last year, we wrote similarly on how the pipes in your home can freeze (if you are looking for an in-depth understanding of how this can happen, you can read all about it here). The basics are, between the cooler months of October and April, the water in your pipes will expand when frozen, and burst through the metal pipe walls. This can happen under your home in the crawlspace, above your family’s heads in the attic, in the garage, or in any other non-insulated space in your home. It can also occur on your outside faucets, devastating the faucet mechanism.
In some instances, you will know the pipes burst immediately; but there are also situations where you won’t know your plumbing is in need of repair until the spring time! So, what can be done?
Preventing Frozen Pipes
There are two basic approaches to preventing your pipes from freezing: keeping the pipes warm (or, at least above 32ºF), or draining the excess water from your pipes. Which approach you take will depend on: if the pipes of concern are inside or outside of your home, and how often you use them.
Tips for Outdoor Pipes
It may be obvious, but you aren’t going to be doing much gardening and landscaping come winter time. If you haven’t already drained your outdoor water supply lines, get on it! You will also want to unhook any hoses from your outdoor faucets. Connected hoses do not allow faucets to properly drain, and can damage your equipment — even if there is only a small chance the temp will drop below freezing. Then, close the valves that provide water to your outdoor hoses, and let hose bibs drain, leaving the faucet on.
Tips for Indoor Pipes
Yes, it is still possible for the pipes that run through your home to freeze (especially if your home is under insulated). Starting with the pipes that run through the non-heated spaces in your home, you should consider insulating your pipes. You likely aren’t going to install a heater in your attic, so this insulation will keep the warm through the winter. For homes that have dealt with chronic freezing issues, it may be cost effective to re-route your plumbing through another area that is less prone to cold temperatures.
Another (weirder) solution for the pipes inside your home, like under your sink and in your bathroom, is to keep the kitchen and bathroom cabinets open overnight. This allows for heat to reach the pipes that run under your sinks. You can also leave your sinks on just enough for a drip overnight, to prevent your water from sitting stagnant. And though it may be more energy efficient to leave your heat off when you leave for vacation, we recommend keeping your thermostat on, set to at least above 55ºF.
Pristine Plumbing with Pippin
As the winters in Oklahoma and Texas become increasingly colder and snowier, considering your pipes should be on your list of winter prep to-do’s. Even if it hasn’t been an issue in the past, taking account of the state of your plumbing can go a long way in preventing a costly pipe disaster. If you have questions about what you can do to better safeguard your home and your family from frozen pipes this year, make sure you trust the local experts at Pippin Brothers. We bring the best to every job, with:
Experienced technicians for your plumbing, heating, cooling, air quality, and zoning needs
Full coverage of the Lawton, Oklahoma area
24-hour emergency communication
Fully stocked service vehicles
Exclusive written guarantees
Flexible payment options