Helpful Water & Sewer Tips for Winterizing Your Home

a small cottage in a field next to some trees, with everything covered in snowAs the saying goes, “Winter is coming.” These past few years have tested the limits on what we define as “Texas winter,” wouldn’t you say? And while it can still go from 80 degrees one day to 30 degrees the next, it’s very important to know how to winterize your home in the event of another surprise storm or cold front. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to protect your pipes this cold season.  

Drain your water heater  

Over time, hard water causes sediment buildup in the water heater. This sediment turns into rust, which you could end up drinking or cooking with. As we transition into the colder months, it’s essential to drain the water heater and remove the sediment. If you find the water is coming out rusted, it’s time to consider purchasing a new water heater before it gets worse.   

Address any leaks, breaks, or compromised pipes   

When preparing your home’s plumbing system for winter, one of the first and most important things to do is identify any pipe leaks because even the smallest of leaks can cause significant damage when the temperatures get low enough. Any leaking areas create natural weak spots, and as the water starts to expand as the temperatures get colder, these areas can cause the pipe to burst from the increased pressure. Not only is this highly inconvenient, but it can also be much more costly to fix than a routine maintenance check. Taking the time to have any leaks in your system professionally diagnosed and repaired can save yourself a lot of time, money, and headaches later.  

Insulate your pipes  

Another thing you want to do before temperatures fall below freezing is to ensure any exposed pipes around your home are properly insulated. This usually consists of wrapping them in some type of padding, whether it be old t-shirts, towels, blankets, or insulation foam. If you aren’t confident doing it yourself, call a plumber to help. This will reduce the chance that your pipes will freeze and burst in the coming winter and help you save on your water heating costs. Treat them the same way you would any delicate foliage, bushes, shrubs, or small trees in your yard – keep them wrapped up!   

Winterize any outdoor faucets you have  

Forgetting to turn off outdoor faucets or appliances can result in severe damage to your plumbing system. To prevent this, make sure you drain and disconnect any hoses that may be attached to your outdoor faucets and store them until the season is over. You’ll also want to ensure that any exposed pipes are safe from the elements and fully drained by completely shutting off the water supply to those faucets. 

It’s always better to be safe than sorry — surprise storms are no match for a little advanced preparation. If you have any issues, contact the city by calling 311.