Protecting your pipes before the polar plunge moves into Central Texas

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 2:25 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - As Central Texas braces for the upcoming extreme low temperatures, Waco plumber shares tips on how to protect your pipes from freezing, or, even worse, bursting.

Mike Staas, owner of Mike Staas Services, Inc. said bursting pipes are very common during below-freezing temperatures, causing pricy damages.

For outdoor water pipes or spots, he recommends buying a pipe insulator which is split in the middle and fits around the pipe that sticks out from the wall. He also recommends buying a cover for the pipe that seals to the outside wall, protecting it from the cold winds headed to Central Texas. These materials can be purchased at local hardware stores.

However, if you cannot find the insulator or cover, he recommends using a T-shirt and wrapping it around the pipe, securing it with duct tape.

Even though rain chances are low, he also said you can use a plastic bag to cover the pipe along with the materials listed above.

Inside, he said it’s important to prepare your pipes for the weather as well. Staas said to open cabinets underneath any sink that faces an outside wall. If the cold air is right outside where the sink is, it’s important to also run the water a little bit, he said.

“Let the 70 inside get right up next to where the teens are outside,” Staas said. “If you have the ability to be home, you can let that water run a little bit, and that’s bringing the warm water in, keeping it battling the water from freezing inside.”

However, he said, if you are traveling and leaving your home through the weekend, he does not recommend running the water at all.

“If this drain was to stop up, you’re gone,” he said. “This water could be all over your house, and that’s as bad as any break from freezing...Do not leave water running when you’re not at home.”

If you follow these precautions, he said it’s likely that you will not encounter frozen or bursting pipes during the upcoming extreme temperatures.

The following is a summary of the tips above:

  • Indoor Pipes if sink is facing an outside wall:
    • Open cabinet doors under the sink
    • Run water slightly if you are staying home
    • Keep thermostat in the 60s or above
    • It’s recommended not to run water when you are not home as it could cause flooding
  • Outside Pipes:
    • Cover with insulator, pipe cover or T-shirt with duct tape
    • For protection from any surprise showers, cover with a plastic bag