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How Can You Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter?

We'll see some temperatures cold enough for a freeze here in Central Texas soon. I've brought in my trusted home inspector for some advice on how to prevent freezing and burst pipes.

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Today I'm joined by Jeff Thorp, a licensed inspector here in Austin that we use a lot. Today, we're discussing what to do if your pipes burst due to the coming freeze here in Central Texas and how to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. As Jeff says, your first step is to turn off the water. In most Austin homes, you'll find the water shutoff valve adjacent to the water meter, which should be located near the street or near the sidewalk. There, you'll find a small hand valve that either looks like a circular dial handle or a flat blade lever valve handle. Don't forget—righty tighty, lefty loosey.
So how can you prevent this from happening in the first place? Freeze protection is a must, Jeff says. We don't get cold temperatures often, but with those cold winds, hose bibs can freeze over, Jeff says. Once the water in there freezes, the expansion of the ice causes the leakage. To combat this, you can insulate hose bibs.

If you go out of town, you may be tempted to turn your heat off, but you should leave it on. The house doesn't need to be toasty, but you do need to keep some heat inside. Jeff says 55 degrees is enough heat.
"IF YOU LEAVE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, DON'T LET YOUR HOUSE GET COLDER THAN 55 DEGREES."
In many modern homes, water lines run through the attic. Sometimes they are even insulated by the ceiling insulation. That insulation could change, though, if a security system is installed or cable wiring is run through the attic. If the insulation has been disturbed enough to where you can see blue, red, or clear piping, it needs to be insulated.

Finally, letting a faucet drip is Jeff's last tip. This will keep a small amount of water moving and prevent freezing. Jess says it's best to have a kitchen or bathroom sink that's near an exterior wall dripping; you don't need all your faucets to drip.

A big thanks to Jeff for joining us today. If you're interested in any kind of home inspection or you just have questions for Jeff, you can contact him at 512-585-8726 or email him at propertydoctorjeff@gmail.com.

If you're thinking of buying or selling a home, give us a call or send us an email soon. We'd love to help!