With freezing weather predicted to occur over the next several days in the Houston area, it’s time to protect your pipes! As many people found out in February 2021 during Winter Storm Uri, when a severe storm occurs and you haven’t made adequate preparations, the results can be disastrous. When water inside a pipe freezes, it expands. The resulting pressure can cause the pipe to burst. A few simple steps now can save you a lot of money later. The District recommends the following:
- Insulate any and all pipes that are exposed to cold air. Hardware and building supply stores sell pipe insulation materials that are easy to install. If you use electric heat tape, be sure it is UL listed and that any extension cords are properly grounded.
- Winterize your irrigation system by closing the main irrigation valve, draining the system, and wrapping the backflow preventer and any above-ground pipes and valves with insulation.
- Drain any standing water from outdoor faucets and hoses and wrap with insulation.
- If the temperature is expected to stay below freezing for several hours, it’s a good idea to cut off the water to your home and drain the pipes.
- Many water lines are installed behind cabinets and in the attic. Keeping the doors to cabinets, closets, and the attic open during the coldest periods may allow your interior heat to help protect the pipes. IF YOU LEAVE CABINETS OPEN, PLEASE REMOVE ANY CLEANING SUPPLIES OR CHEMICALS TO KEEP CHILDREN OR PETS FROM GETTING TO THEM!
- If you plan to be away for several days during expected freezing weather, don’t turn off your heat. Keeping the air in the 60s will help keep your pipes warm. Better yet, cut off the water to your home and drain the pipes.