Tips to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting this winter

Tips to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting this winter

The ArkLaTex has already been hit with a blast of cold air. The first area wide hard freeze will be possible Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Cold weather protecting pipes

With the official start of winter still over a month away, there are going to be several more blasts of cold air to come over the next few months.

When temperatures tumble well below freezing it’s important to protect the 4 'P’s: people, pets, plants and pipes.

KSLA First Alert Meteorologist James Parish tagged along with a local plumber to learn how to protect pipes from freezing or bursting.

Water has a unique property that it expands when it freezes. When the water expands as it freezes it puts a lot of pressure on whatever is containing it. This is why pipes can burst during extremely cold weather.

The pipes that are most likely to freeze are the ones exposed to the outdoors: hose bibbs, swimming pool supply lines and water sprinkler lines.

“First, you want to disconnect all your hoses from the outside bibbs, and also make sure to insulate all your exposed piping,” said Mike Ebersole, plumber for DMR Mechanical.

Ebersole will show you how to winterize an outdoor hose bibb in the video below.

Winterizing a hose bibb

Ebersole said he doesn’t recommend covering outdoor hose bibbs with a towel.

“It will work temporally, but if it is snowing or sleeting and [the towel] will get wet and freeze... it could actually crack the pipe,” said Ebersole.

Ebersole says it’s pretty easy to drain your sprinkler system.

“Each sprinkler system is served by a vacuum breaker... Make sure those valves are turned off. There is also have a bleeder valve that you can use to bleed the water down and turn it off at your control panel,” said Ebersole.

People with pier beam homes also need to make sure the pipes underneath their home are wrapped. Ebersole said to also make sure there are no holes in the skirting along the bottom of the house.

Make sure to cover up any holes in the skirting on the bottom of pier beam house.
Make sure to cover up any holes in the skirting on the bottom of pier beam house. (Source: KSLA News 12)

The two common types of piping are copper and PEX.

PEX plumbing pipe is on the left. Copper plumbing pipe is on the right.
PEX plumbing pipe is on the left. Copper plumbing pipe is on the right. (Source: KSLA News 12)

“When it freezes the copper is going to burst and flood underneath your pier beam house. With your half inch PEX, it is just going to freeze, so if you wake in the morning and go to shower and don’t have any water than it has froze," said Ebersole.

Ebersole highly discourages anyone from using a torch to unfreeze a frozen pipe.

He also recommends anyone who thinks they have a frozen or burst pipe to call their local plumber.

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