What to Do if Pipes Freeze in Texas: A Quick Relief Guide
Frozen pipes are a common problem when the weather gets colder. If you have found that less water is streaming from your faucets, or it has stopped entirely, there may be ice blocking your supply.
Left unchecked, frozen pipes can be significantly damaging. They can lead to breakages or cracking as the pipes grow brittle from the cold. In addition, water expands as it freezes, putting undue pressure on your plumbing.
Depending on the severity of your situation, you may be able to resolve the issue without consulting professional help. Sometimes, however, the task will prove to be more than you can handle. To decide which camp you fall into, read on.
1. Shut Off Your Main Water Supply
This should be the very first thing you do. The ice blocking your pipes may have caused your plumbing to burst. If further water continues to flow to the burst, it can cause further damage that will drive up repair costs. If your water supply is closed off, you will not run the risk of worsening the potential leak.
Locating your water meter is something you should do as soon as possible, regardless of whether you suspect damage. The last thing you want to do when you fear a burst pipe is waste time frantically seeking your water meter. It should be located in either your front, back, or side yard. Depending on the property it may be closer to your home.
Water meter valves vary: some can be turned on or off simply by twisting while others require a water key or a crescent wrench.
Outdoor water meters are not always in plain sight, so you may need to move some dirt to get access. Once you do, remember the golden rule: the water flows in the direction of the valve. Turn it away from your home to halt access.
2. Look for Visible Signs of Damage
If you have access to the affected water pipe, inspect it for obvious damage. This could appear as cracking or areas of obvious strain from where ice is applying pressure from the inside. If the pipe appears damaged, it is not recommended that you try to thaw it yourself.
The reason for this is because you may need to have a new pipe fitted depending on the extent of the damage. A burst pipe cannot be remedied through DIY, it will need the attention of a plumber. For more information, contact us at All Dry USA and we will be happy to advise.
3. Do Not Leave Water Running from Faucets
Given that we are talking about frozen pipes specifically in Texas, it is important to note that you should not leave all your faucets running like some sources advise.
The water system of Texas differs from most other states. They largely do not use water towers to provide pressure, instead of utilizing ground storage tanks and pumps. Leaving faucets running following a big freeze can put excess pressure on the entire system, potentially affecting the plumbing of your whole neighborhood.
4. If You Have Access, Try to Warm the Pipe
If you have managed to locate the affected pipe and have easy access to it, you can try to warm it yourself. This entirely depends on your confidence in the matter. If you would rather have it done professionally, you can sit back after turning your water supply off and call us.
If you feel up to the job, there are many ways you can attempt to thaw the pipe yourself. You can use any of the following to assist the thawing process:
- Hairdryer: Yes, we are serious. A hairdryer is a surprisingly effective way to direct high heat to a metal surface, which can effectively remove any ice from within the pipe.
- Heat Lamp or Space Heater: Simply place near or adjacent to the affected pipe and let the heat do its work.
- Hot Towels: If you don’t have access to a hairdryer or a space heater, going back to basics can be just as effective. If you still have access to water somewhere in your home, or you borrow some from a neighbor, soak some towels in heated water. Wrap these towels around the affected pipe and replace them once they have lost their heat.
Warming the pipe is only applicable if it hasn’t burst or cracked. If it has, the leak will only worsen once thawed.
5. Turn the Water Back on Once Ice has Thawed
Once thawed, if the pipe is not damaged or leaking, it is time to turn your water back on. To means-test whether your water supply is back to normal, try each of your faucets. If you have a bathtub, try filling it with both hot and cold water for around five to ten minutes.
Complete this process with the rest of the faucets in your home. If you notice any spluttering or a compromised flow, the problem may not be completely solved. At this point, it is time to call an expert.
Unsure? Contact a Professional
Our experts at All Dry USA are eager to help. If you suspect that your pipes have frozen or may have already burst, contact us as soon as possible to arrange a visit. We will restore your running water in no time and prevent any further damage. Call us today!