Tips to protect your pipes ahead of freezing temps


AUSTIN (KXAN) — “It was like plumbing Armageddon out there. Pipes were bursting all over the place,” Brendin Dittman, owner and operator of Cold is on the Right Plumbing, recalled of Austin’s last big freeze.

“For freezing temperatures of only 2-3 days to cause that much damage and have that many homes, you know, without water, broken pipes, damage inside of homes, it was pretty amazing to me,” said Dittman, who grew up in Michigan.

Cold is on the Right Plumbing says many people moving to Central Texas from up north don’t realize homes are not built the same way. Unlike areas with consistently freezing temperatures, where piping has to be installed deeper in the ground, Austin and other areas of the south, do not have the same code requirements.

He walked KXAN through some ways homeowners can protect their wallets and avoid a big headache this winter, showing how a little prep can make a big difference in protecting your pipes.

“Your incoming water to the home, this is something you do not want to ever have freeze because you won’t have any water,” Dittman pointed out. Insulation is a good solution and is available at just about any hardware store.

“It’s very inexpensive, a couple of dollars could save you several hundred in the future,” Dittman said. “If you tape everything up and protect it from UV damage, you won’t have to worry about this again for several years.”

While you’re at it, Dittman highly recomends picking up a faucet cover.

“These hose faucet covers kind of give a little envelope around the hose faucet where it can absorb some of the heat from the home,” he said, just enough heat to avoid major issues.

A common mistake, Dittman said, is leaving cold rather than hot water dripping overnight to prevent a freeze.

“It’s actually not protecting the hot side at all,” he explained. “If you do it on the hot side, the water heater is filled with the cold water. That makes sure you’ve got the system moving on the hot and the cold supply, make sure that you don’t have any issues.”

Another tip — leave cabinet doors open so heat from the home can reach the pipes. Plus, “You can take an incandescent light, plug it in, set it inside the cabinet. And that will keep enough warmth in there.”

Bottom line?

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of time, energy or money to save yourself a lot of money, especially around the holidays.”

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