Although winter in Bedford, TX, may bring more mild weather than the winter months in most of the United States, freezing weather is still quite common. People in Texas need to winterize their homes and plumbing too. Frozen pipes are the most well-known plumbing peril during cold weather. Most homeowners benefit from hiring a professional plumber to help winterize their homes.
Pipes don’t break at frozen locations. Water pressure at some point between the closed faucet and the frozen section of pipe causes breaks. Winterizing exterior plumbing involves reducing the risk of broken pipes in exterior walls. Pipes inside exterior walls are more vulnerable to cold weather than other pipes. Iron and copper pipes are also more vulnerable to freezing than plastic pipes. A broken pipe can flood your home and cause extensive water damage, especially if no one is home when the break occurs. It’s wise to consult a plumber.
You can do a lot to prepare your home for winter. Check outdoor faucets and drain garden hoses before storing them for winter. Don’t let hoses outside in the elements all winter. Hoses can deteriorate and develop weak spots if they’re left to repeatedly freeze and thaw outdoors. Survey the outside of your house and outdoor plumbing fixtures and look for any sort of damage.
Openings around hose bibs let cold air seep into the walls and the interior of your home, so any open spaces should be filled with insulation. Close all shut-off valves in outdoor faucets then open taps to drain the lines. Remember to disconnect back-flow preventers. The faucets can be left open until spring. Insulation is essential if faucets don’t have shut-off valves. Call a plumber if you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself.
Hose bibs are commonly known as outdoor faucets or exterior faucets. They’re outdoor taps to use water from inside our homes. The hose bib connects to the home’s plumbing infrastructure through pipes that lead from the main water supply. We use hose bibs for all sorts of things, such as watering lawns or gardens, washing cars, and filling swimming pools. Most tasks take place during warm weather, and hose bibs may be forgotten during winter. Water left inside the hose bib can freeze.
Most hose bibs are made of threaded pipe with handles on top for opening and closing valves. Most homes also have interior shut-off valves to stop water flow to exterior faucets. Interior valves may be too close to the home’s exterior in some cases. A frozen hose bib can easily lead to cracked pipes and water damage in the home’s interior. This situation can turn into a plumbing emergency because the pipes affected by a frozen hose bib tend to be located near electrical components, such as breakers, appliances, and wiring. This is one reason why consulting a professional plumber for winterization is so important.
Frost-Free Hose Bibs
A frost-free hose bib looks almost exactly like a traditional hose bib, but the pipe on the frost-free model is longer. The most important difference is that the shut-off valve is located deeper in the home’s interior where temperatures are consistently warmer. Ask your local plumber about replacing hose bibs with a frost-free model to reduce the risk of freezing in outdoor pipes and fixtures. It’s important to consult a plumber for this job because improper hose bib installation can let water drain into your home’s foundation.
Exterior Home Maintenance
Don’t just concentrate on openings around fixtures. All visible cracks should be sealed. Cold air coming through cracks can freeze pipes inside the house. This cold air is sometimes the culprit when people discover frozen pipes in areas of the home that didn’t seem to be at risk. It’s best to call a professional plumber if you aren’t sure what to look for. Crawl spaces don’t always get the attention they deserve either. Make sure all crawl spaces are properly insulated and block vents leading to the outside.
Gutters are another part of your home that needs attention. Clogged gutters often lead to standing water. Pine needles, dirt, leaves, and other debris caught in standing water may encourage mold and mildew growth. This situation can lead to rot in areas around gutters, and backed-up water can leak into shingles or between walls. Cracks and holes form when leaking water freezes and expands.
Sprinkler systems in Bedford, TX, need to be inspected before winter as well. Damage from freezing can occur if the frost level extends below the depth of an irrigation system. Winterization methods differ according to the type of irrigation. Irrigation systems with manual drainage mechanisms let you drain excess water by opening a valve. Shut off water to the system entirely before attempting manual drainage. You have to locate and open the manual valves at the ends and low points of the system. Don’t forget to drain the backflow device as well.
Sprinkler systems equipped with check valves let water flow out in only one direction. You may need to raise sprinkler heads to drain your system through check valves. Remember to close all the valves again after drainage is complete. Automatic irrigation systems contain valves that drain water from pipes automatically. Drainage only happens when water pressure falls below a specified number of pounds per square inch.
Turn off the main water supply then run a sprinkler head for a short time to relieve pressure in the system. Automatic draining should clear all the pipes in the system of excess water, but you still need to drain water between the shut-off valve and the backflow device. Sprinkler heads with check valves have to be emptied separately. It may be beneficial to call a plumber to handle the winterization of your sprinkler system, regardless of which system you have. Most of us aren’t experts on sprinkler system maintenance and it’s easy to forget a step.
Consult the professional plumbers at Tioga Plumbing & Electric in Bedford, TX, to help to winterize your home. They’re happy to inspect the interior and exterior of your home to locate potential problem areas and work with you to keep your home safe during the cold winter months.
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