Plumbing Problems and Cold Weather Woes
To keep your home’s plumbing system functioning properly, it’s important to be aware of how it works and potential causes of malfunction that could cost thousands of dollars. An ounce of prevention in the form of an occasional once-over by a licensed plumber should be all it takes to keep everything running smoothly all year. However, unusually cold weather can wreak havoc on your home’s pipes.
Cold Weather and Burst Pipes
In colder climates, homes and buildings are typically erected with pipes fully within the insulation of the home itself. However, in warmer climates like Texas, where pipes are not usually insulated, it’s extra important to be aware of unusually cold weather fronts that can wreak havoc on uninsulated piping.
Cold weather causes pipes to freeze when the heat from the water within the pipe is dissipated through the metal into the below-freezing air around it. While water will freeze at thirty-two degrees in a controlled environment, it usually needs to be colder than that for a prolonged period of time in order to cause freezing within pipes. When pipes burst due to freezing, it’s not actually the ice that does the damage, but the water within your residential plumbing system being pressurized by an ice plug and having nowhere to go.
To help prevent burst pipes during exceptionally cold forecasts, install insulation sleeves on any exposed piping in the attic, garage, or crawl space during the fall, close vents and seal cracks or gaps in exterior walls and your house’s foundation, maintain a household temperature of at least fifty degrees around the clock, and make sure the warm air inside is circulating as much as possible to areas with exposed piping. If you turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, call a plumber. Attempting to treat frozen pipes on your own can be dangerous, and it can be difficult for an untrained layperson to pinpoint where exactly the freeze has occurred in the first place.
During the cold months, there are a lot of factors that can negatively impact your water heater’s normal functionality. For one, we tend to use a lot more water when it’s cold outside, and we also opt to enjoy hotter, longer showers than we do during other times of the year. If you have a family and everyone is using hot water around the same time, you’re probably going to see a marked decrease in the amount of hot water available at any given time. It’s important to keep abreast of your water heater’s functionality during autumn and be aware of any potential issues before they arise.