Freezing Weather On the Way; How to Protect Your Pipes

This weeks temperatures are expected to stay in the 20s and teens. Here are some expert tips to protect your pipes from bursting.
By Michaela MacDonald

LUBBOCK, TX -- This week's temperatures are expected to stay in the 20s and teens, posing a danger to your pipes.

Owner of Gibson Plumbing Heating And Air Conditioning, Scott Gibson says every time Lubbock has an extended period of severely cold temperatures, they see pipes burst. He says the most vulnerable pipes are on the north side of outside walls in old homes.

"Normally when we have very severe cold like this over several days is when we see problems with frozen pipes," said Gibson.

He says the upcoming cold spell poses a serious risk to your pipes.

"When you have a frozen pipe it will be on an outside wall especially if the pipes are on the north side of the house whenever we have cold temperatures like this we also have some wind from the north and that tends to really beat the north side of the house and that is where the most common freeze ups are," said Gibson.

Gibson recommends: covering your outside faucets, leaving your cabinets open to allow heat to get to the pipes, and letting your sink drip or have a small stream to keep the water moving.

These are tips for residential owners. We also spoke with the Fire Department about what commercial owners can do.

"Fire code states that the temperature any where there is a wet sprinkler system has to be maintained at 40 degrees or higher. We'll see sometimes in warehouses where they are not occupied warehouses maybe that heat will be shut off and maybe the occupant doesn't think about it and then we have a cold snap, that pipe breaks and a lot of their stock in there is ruined," said Battalion Chief Rob Keinast.

Keinast says an extended freeze back in 2011 kept the fire department busy.

"Lubbock Fire And Rescue responded to approximately 40 calls of malfunctioning sprinkler systems and most of those malfunctions were frozen pipes so a very serious problem. First you have, once that pipe is frozen a sprinkler system is not working anymore so that property is not protected by a sprinkler system and then when the pipe does thaw and you have a break in that pipe now you have serious flooding that goes on," said Keinast.

Keinast says you can call a licensed fire sprinkler company to make sure your sprinkler pipes are properly insulated.

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