Tag Archives: winter

How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing (And What to Do When They Freeze)

Home Repair
Every year when winter comes, home owners and residents find themselves scrambling to prepare for the realities of harsh cold weather. Winter can be a fun time of the year, but only if you are adequately prepared for it. If you are not prepared, you will quickly find that winter is the most troublesome and stressful season. When the weather turns, the house problems can mount, making it quite the chore just to go about your day-to-day life. Thankfully, there are good ways to prepare.

One of the best things you can do to prepare for winter is make sure that your water pipes are ready for the cold temperatures. Temperatures are reaching record lows, so the probability of having frozen pipes is high. Frozen water pipes can be a gigantic trouble. When your pipes freeze, water flow gets blocked and can burst the pipes, causing flooding and thousands of dollars in damage. Plus, broken pipes temporarily mean no water for your house. So it’s best that you prepare to make sure you don’t get stuck with ice in your pipes and nothing but air in your faucet. Here are a few ways to prevent frozen pipes and some tips on what to do in the event that your pipes do actually freeze.

How to prevent frozen pipes
Insulate: The single best way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to insulate them. Insulation is extremely affordable and very easy to install. You can install some simple pipe insulation for $20 or $30 and avoid having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for repairs. While it’s best that you insulate all of your pipes, it is most important that you make sure to insulate the areas of pipe that are exposed to the coldest weather, such as any places where the pipes travel outside of your house or run along an outside wall (a wall that isn’t insulated). Remember, it only takes your pipe freezing in one location to entirely block your water flow.

Periodically run the water: The longer that water is stagnant, the easier it will freeze. So it’s important that you run water through all the pipes with some regularity. You don’t need to waste water by leaving faucets on, but make sure that those guest bathrooms that don’t get used often get their faucets turned on every once in a while. This will keep the water moving and prevent the ice from forming. If you anticipate a cold night coming up, turn on all the rarely used faucets in the house for at least a few seconds to get the water running.

Heat your cold rooms: It goes without saying that the coldest areas of your house are likely to be the culprit if pipes freeze. That means that your basement is just waiting to freeze your pipes. If pipe insulation isn’t enough (or you don’t want to install it), buy a space heater for your cold rooms and turn it on periodically to keep the ambient heat high enough to prevent freezing.

If your pipes freeze
If your preventive tactics are too late, have no fear. Here are two good ways to handle frozen pipes:

Thaw them: You can thaw your pipes with space heaters, hair dryers, or warm towels. You want to be sure to avoid anything that could be harmful or dangerous, such as fire or torches. When you’re thawing your pipes, make sure to have your faucet on; that way, when a little bit of the ice melts, the water will have somewhere to go, which will expedite the process (and also let you know if you’re having success).
Plumber II
Call a plumber: If you aren’t able to easily thaw the pipes yourself, call a professional plumber. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can do serious damage to your plumbing system and even to your house. Plumbing should only be done by those who know what they are doing.

With these tips, you will be able to handle frozen pipes or prevent them from freezing in the first place.

This article was written by father and home handyman, Jared Miret. Jared recommends calling Doug Turner Plumbing if you are unsure how to handle your frozen pipes.

House and Sky

Prepare Your Roof For Winter

As a homeowner, one of your more costly home repairs is replacing your roof. Whether your roof is fairly new or several years old, you should protect your investment by performing annual roof maintenance and repairs. This will help extend the life of your roof and protect your home from the elements. The winter months are typically the time when your roof is exposed to the most extreme weather, including rain, snow, ice, hail, or high winds. To ensure that your roof is ready for the winter weather, follow the steps below.

Inspection
Inspecting your roof before winter helps to ensure that you do not have any pre-existing damage, or areas of your roof that need attention. When inspecting your roof, look for any of these signs:

Sagging: A sagging area, or areas that appear as if they are sunk in, could be a sign that the plywood framing below is rotten.

Discoloration: Discoloration could mean that you have algae or moss on your roof. If this is not addressed in a timely manner it can lead to costly damage.

Missing Shingles: Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against the elements. In order to ensure that your roof is ready for the rain, snow, hail, and wind that may arrive in the winter months, replace all missing shingles. Also look for loose shingles that need additional roofing cement.

Curled Shingles: Curled shingles could be a sign that it is time to replace your roof. If you only have a few curled shingles within a general area, the area may need repair. Also inspect the keyways, or areas between the shingles, to ensure there is not any deterioration.

Check The Flashing: The flashing is the sheet metal that connects the joints of your roof to the side of your home, chimney, or plumbing vent pipes. Check to make sure that there are no holes or gaps in your flashing that can lead to leaks in your roof. If you find an area of the flashing with a hole or gap, then remove the old caulk completely before applying new caulking.

snow house
Clean Your Roof
Any dirt and debris that accumulates on your roof needs to be swept off prior to winter. This will require you to climb up on a ladder with a broom and gently sweep your shingles. If you do not remove debris, it will hold water when it rains and can lead to damage when left sitting on your roof for an extended period of time. When sweeping, be particularly careful if you have asphalt shingles. These shingles are particularly granular; make sure you are not sweeping away the shingles granules.

Clean And Inspect Your Gutters
Your gutters have the important job of guiding the rain, hail, and melted ice and snow from on your roof, to down drain spouts. Clogged gutters or those in need of repair can lead to pooling water and leaks. To prepare your gutters for winter, follow the steps below:

Remove Debris: Start by removing any fall leaves, dirt, and debris that have accumulated in your gutters. If not removed, the debris can restrict the flow of runoff and lead to clogs in your drain spout. You should remove the debris in your gutters at least twice a year, or each spring and fall. If cleaning your gutters is too much work, consider installing gutter guards that will drastically reduce your gutter cleaning time, as they will divert most debris back into your backyard.

Inspect: While you are cleaning your gutters be on the lookout for cracks, holes, or any loose or damaged areas. Gutters that are not in proper condition can lead to runoff in areas other than the drain spouts. Over time, this unplanned runoff can lead to damage and leaks.

Much of the maintenance and repairs above are DIY projects. However, if home maintenance is not your strong skill, or the height required to work on your roof is not a task you are up for, hire a local roof maintenance expert to complete the above maintenance and repairs for you. Even if you perform all of your roof maintenance yourself, it is a good idea to reach out to a professional on occasion to gain further insight as to how you can best maintain your roof.

This article was written by Jared Miret, father and home handyman.  Jared wants everyone to know how to protect their roofs from damage during the harsh winter months.  If you do experience some damage there are many roofing services in Houston that will take good care of your roofing needs.