Protecting Your Pipes

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" looks like we've got a water leak..."

Repairing water leaks and bursting pipes during the winter season is a common occurrence for plumber Orlando Ayala. He says the most common mistake people make is not keeping their water faucets dripping when freezing temperatures hit.

"Just a constant drip, not like a drip, (pause) drip, (pause) drip," explains Ayala. "Rather, you want a faster drip because you want the water to be running the whole time."

Doing this allows the water to flow through the pipes, which Ayala says will help to prevent the water from sitting and freezing. On the other hand, not doing this could end up looking like this--a busted water pipe which can be costly.

"If you don't have the outside hose bibs running, at least have something inside the house running so you have constant flow through your main lines that way it doesn't have a chance to sit."

There are a number of inexpensive ways that can help with freeze prevention.

"As you can see this hose bib is laying on the ground, not where it should be, it should be on the hose cover," explains Ayala. "Hose bibs can easily be purchased at your neighborhood appliance store, Lowes or Home Depot, that sort of place."

A simple hose bib keeps the cool air out where it belongs. Ayala says it's also a good idea to remove the hose from the faucet when not in use, "Don't forget to shut off outdoor pipes either," says Ayala.

-If you live in house with a crawl space, which is a house that is suspended a few feet from the ground with exposed pipes and plumbing underneath, make sure to close up the openings around the house to block the wind from accessing the pipes. You can do this by using pink or blue foam board. This can be purchased from a home improvement store. You can also use wood boards or a piece of plastic such as tarp.

-If pipes are located inside a cabinet, leaving the cabinet doors open will allow the heat from the room to reach the pipes, which will heat them so they don't freeze.

-If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to shut off the water main to your house should a pipe burst while you are away-- If it does burst, it could cause flooding.

-It's also a good idea to have your service technician mark your emergency shut-off location so you can find it in a hurry if a pipe bursts.

"If you just do those simple things around the house, like keeping your water running all the time, you probably won't have these problems."

In the end, it will have you saving the headache for perhaps a rainy day.

For more information or to contact Ed Phillips Plumbing, you can call: 979) 694-6445.

Other helpful tips include:

-Heavy ice may cause damage to roof guttering and people are advised to contact a building maintenance company who may be able to assist.

-All pipes and water tanks should be adequately lagged to prevent frost damage.

-Avoid frozen pipes by keeping your home reasonably warm in cold weather and by leaving the heating on a low setting overnight and when you are out.

-Never use a naked flame to thaw a water pipe