Fort Bend MUD 149: Protecting Your Pipes for Winter

We Texans know how to bundle up when it gets cold out there. Gloves, hats, scarves, jackets and boots are a necessity for warm-blooded Texans when the temperatures begin to drop. Likewise, have you considered bundling up your home in preparation for the cold? Extra steps should be taken to protect your pipes in order to prevent them from cracking or breaking during the winter season.

How should I winterize?

Draining the pipes prior to cold weather is usually a good idea, as water that isn’t moving can freeze within the lines and cause them to crack. If you plan to winterize yourself, take care to insulate all pipes that are exposed to the weather. Use pipe insulation foam to wrap around your pipes and secure with strong tape. Other methods include using rags or towels to wrap the pipes; however, the insulating foam that is designed to do the job is your best bet. An insulating foam faucet cover can be used to protect outdoor faucets as well. Any exposed pipes, especially those that run along walls and outside, should be winterized against the elements. Ambient temperature can drop in places you might not notice, such as your attic, and cause damage when they freeze.

What about my sprinkler system?

For the coldest months we want to be sure we are protecting our sprinkler system. Most sprinkler installation and repair companies offer a sprinkler blowout service. Essentially, blowing out any standing water and draining the underground pipes, reduces the risks of major damage to your system.

Do I need to winterize my pool?

Even in Texas, you will need to take some steps to ensure that your pool equipment stays functional during winter. This includes modifying the amount of chemicals you add to the water, increasing the frequency of cleaning out the skimmer and pump strainer, installing freeze protection equipment and/or running your pump 24/7 if you know there will be a freeze.

Does the temperature inside my house make a difference?

Yes! Aside from comfort, its good practice to have your home warm prior to a big freeze. Open cabinets or leave them slightly ajar so that warm air can circulate around pipes that run through them. This will protect the pipes within the house. When we know a freeze is coming, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and turn the heat up to a comfortable level.