Colder temperatures are expected in the Houston area over the next few days. With temperatures possibly reaching into the 10s next Monday and Tuesday, people are reminded to keep their eye on pipes, especially the ones outside.
PROTECT YOUR PIPES:
As the cold weather approaches, plumbing experts emphasize the importance of not being passive. Simple measures can make a big difference, such as insulating your outdoor pipes to prevent them from bursting.
Shield Outdoor Spigots: These are vulnerable to freezing temperatures and often freeze first on a house. A cost-effective and easy solution is to use Insulated Outdoor Faucet/Spigot Covers, available at local hardware stores for about $4-$10, which can save you from costly damages and repairs.
Safeguard Water Lines: Wrap any exposed pipes with insulation materials, which you can find at your local hardware store. In a pinch, old towels secured with duct tape can also work!
Seal Any Gaps: Look for small cracks or openings on your home's exterior, particularly where cables enter. Even tiny openings can let in cold air. Easily seal these with spray foam insulation, and don't forget to apply weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows annually.
Keep Water Moving: If your plumbing runs along an exterior wall, let your faucets drip slightly during extremely low temperatures. Consider leaving cabinet doors open so the indoor air can warm the pipes.
Access to Water Shut-Off: In case of a burst pipe, you'll need to quickly shut off your home's water supply. Ensure you have clear access to the shut-off valve and know how to use it.
Close Garage Doors: If you have an attached garage, keeping its door shut can help keep cold air out, protecting any plumbing fixtures inside.
Clean Your Gutters: Clogged gutters can lead to ice formation on your roof. Clean them before the freeze hits, and consider installing gutter screens or helmets to prevent blockages.
Thermostat Maintenance: Ensure your thermostat functions continuously, keeping spare batteries handy. Modern systems like the Nest allow temperature monitoring via smartphone.
Preparation for Vacation: If you're leaving for an extended period during winter, consider shutting off your water and draining your plumbing system to prevent freezing and plumbing failures.
Insurance Check: Always ensure your homeowner’s insurance is current and covers damages from freezing temperatures.
With forecasts indicating below-freezing temperatures, it's a gentle reminder to stay prepared, even if conditions are not expected to be as severe as the 2021 Texas Freeze.
SWIMMING POOL TIPS IN FREEZING WEATHER: Freezing weather can severely affect pool equipment. However, with the right precautions, your
equipment can be safeguarded effectively.
Keep the Water in Motion: Water moving through your pool's pipes and equipment at a good speed won't freeze. This is a key step in preventing freeze damage.
Freeze Protection for Pumps: All pumps except the Polaris Booster pump need freeze protection, as the booster is always receiving flow from the main pool pump. If a pump isn't freeze protected, keep it running 24/7 until the cold subsides or winterize it by draining and disabling. Regular checks on freeze protection devices are advisable, particularly during the season's first freeze.
Ensure Continuous Flow in Lines: For pools with a spa, frequently switching between pool and spa modes isn't usually necessary. A pool technician can provide specific advice. Regularly check that water is indeed flowing through the pool system.
Maintain Water Level: Water levels in pools can drop during extreme cold. If your faucets are frozen, you might need to use a hose from an indoor tap to maintain the pool's water level.
Regular Pool Maintenance: Make sure to regularly clean trap baskets and skimmers, perform scheduled filter cleans, and not delay backwashing. Neglecting these tasks can reduce water flow and increase the risk of freeze damage.
Power Outage Protocol: If you lose power, winterizing your pool equipment is essential. Turn off the main power to prevent pumps from restarting once drained. Remove drain plugs from all equipment holding water, take off lids, and store the plugs safely. Open the air relief valve on the filter and remove the chlorinator cap. Drain any other water-holding components. Once power is restored, reassemble everything, prime the pumps, and start them up.
These tips are crucial for preventing freeze damage to your pool during cold snaps.