SAN ANTONIO - Temperatures are expected in the low 20's Monday night into Tuesday morning, so there's a good chance your water pipes could freeze and then burst.
Freezing pipes are a problem in in our area because they often run through un-insulated or under-insulated attics or crawl spaces. Although we only have a few cold snaps per year, leaving the pipes unprotected can cause them to burst, which can result in a tremendous amount of damage to your home.
Here's a refresher on what to do...
- Seal any openings around pipes where cold air could get in. Use insulation sleeves or rags to cover outdoor pipes.
- Leave cabinet doors open under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to let warmer air circulate.
- Let water drip slowly from faucets. The moving water can release pressure so the pipe won't
Don’t forget to bring in your pets and protect your plants...
- Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.
- For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost. Don't use plastic because when the sun comes out, it could "bake" your plants.
- Water plants before freeze hits to keep them from going into stress.
- Keep the garage door closed if there are water supply lines located inside.
- Keep the heating thermostat set at a consistent temperature both day and night.
- If going out of town during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home. Set the thermostat to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees, and open cabinet doors where there is plumbing.
- If you are going out of town and have a heat pump system, you may need to switch the setting to emergency heat and reduce the thermostat setting to 55°.
Thawing Frozen Pipes after the Storm...
- If you suspect that the pipe is frozen; keep the faucet open. Water will begin to flow as you treat the frozen area, which will help to melt more ice in the pipe.
- Make sure you know where the main water valve is located outside of your home. The frozen pipe may already be broken, and it will leak when the water is thawed. If this is the case, you'll need to turn off the main water valve to your home until the leak is repaired.
- Apply heat to the frozen portion of the pipe. This can be accomplished by using the following sources of heat: a heating pad, electric hair dryer, a portable space heater, or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Make sure that electrical cords do not come into contact with water. Do not attempt to use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame devices; they present a serious fire hazard as well as release lethal carbon monoxide fumes into the air.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Call a licensed plumber if you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not within reach, or if you can't get the pipe to thaw.
- Inspect all other faucets in your home to find out if additional pipes are frozen. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze also.