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Freezing weather pipe and plumbing advice from Olshan

In Houston and nationwide
In Houston and nationwide
Olshan Home Solutions

Have you heard of Olshan?  Perhaps a better question is, "Who hasn't heard of Olshan? 

For more than 75 years Olshan has provided industry leading technology to homeowners, installed by thoroughly trained, licensed professionals. Olshan started in Houston Texas in 1933 and now services more than 50,000 customers each year in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Olshan started as a foundation repair company but over the years has expanded their expertise to include Plumbing and Landscaping Services.

Customers can sign up to receive home tips from Olshan, and I wanted to share some of their very timely weather advice. For ways to protect your plumbing, read ahead:

Plumbing Tips for Freezing Temperatures

By Bill Bywaters, TX MPL# M-36531

Freezing temperatures put your pipes at risk for freezing, especially in older homes. But there are things you can do to prevent pipe replacement and plumbing costs in the winter.

Where temperatures are projected to be extremely low, leave the hot water faucet running a slow trickle of water in the tub and kitchen sink. This keeps water flowing through the pipes and the hot water will help protect the drains from freezing.

Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic. These exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember, the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.

Insulate Pipes that are exposed outdoors.  Foam and heat tape can last for years and need only be replaced when either shows signs of rot or corrosion.

Heat tape or thermostatically-controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for its intended use (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.

Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located with caulk or insulation. Look around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.

Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.

If you must be away from home, set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C). Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing, or shut off and drain the water system.

Tips if you do have broken pipes or other problem:

If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber. If you detect that your water pipes have frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on.

If despite your best efforts, a water pipe does freeze, use a hair dryer on low temperature to thaw it out. By allowing the water to thaw slowly, the chance of the pipe breaking is reduced.

Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shut-off valve is and how to open and close it.

Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. Water damage is preferable to fire damage.

You can contact Olshan at 888-657-4262 or at to learn more or to get a free estimate for your next project. 

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