Experts: Protect your pipes from hard freeze or risk needing costly repairs

With a hard freeze coming, your pipes are in peril. But we have some last-minute tips, plus a look at how much a repair could cost
January 28, 2014 8:55:13 PM PST
With a hard freeze coming, your pipes are in peril. But we have some last-minute tips, plus a look at how much a repair could cost.

If you are lucky, a fix will only set you back a few hundred dollars; otherwise. get ready to shell out big bucks if the wrong pipe breaks.

This is not the kind of weather Rocky Rawls imagined when he moved to Houston from California.

"We never expected the weather would get this cold, and we were told our pipes would freeze if we did not get this wrapping done," Rawls said.

Rawls called plumber Stephon McNair who says the most likely trouble spot for Houston homeowners is the bell housing on the irrigation system.

If that breaks, expect to pay $200 to $500, but if the main water line leading into your home freezes and breaks, the repairs run in the thousands.

"It can jump to 2 or 4 thousand dollar job, depending on where the location of the pipes are and how much of the pipe needs repair," McNair said. "If you have galvanized pipe, the situation could be a little more severe."

But, frozen pipes do not always need to be fixed. If they thaw and don't leak, you are OK.

If you have not wrapped pipes, open your cabinet doors under sinks and let the faucets drip overnight.

"Turn the faucet on, let it trickle," McNair said. "A little bit of dripping water will keep the flow of water."

If you have a swimming pool, keep it running. And it's always good to know how to wrap up outside pipes.

"Get some towels and some duct tape and wrap the faucets and hose bibs and wrap the pipes and duct tape them," McNair said. "It's better to be safe than sorry."

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