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How to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures | English and Spanish

City of Houston leaders are urging homeowners to start prepping their homes for the freezing weather now.

HOUSTON — An arctic blast will push through the Houston area just before Christmas.

City of Houston leaders are urging homeowners to start prepping their homes for the freezing weather now, especially if they have plans to head out of town for Christmas. That includes protecting the pipes.

We have all of this information in Spanish as well. Here's where you can get that.

How to protect your pipes

Richard Saad with Nick's Plumbing said one way to protect your pipes from bursting in freezing weather is to cover the outside ones. He said you'll first want to turn off the water and drain the outside pipe. If your outside pipe is already covered with the proper insulation and you're looking for additional protection, you can wrap a towel around it and then put a trash bag over the towel and pipe.


Protecting your pipes if you're going out of town

Saad said the best way to protect your pipes if you're headed out of town for the Christmas holiday is to simply turn your water off for peace of mind. Saad said once you turn off your water using the shut-off valve, you're going to want to drain the water from the outside pipe then go inside and turn on the faucets, showers and bathtubs to drain the water from those pipes.

"So everything can drain properly," said Saad. "Get [the water] out of the horizontal piping and the vertical piping the best that we can...you want to do the hot and the cold."

You can also protect your pipes while you're away by leaving your faucets dripping. The Red Cross said you should let cold water drip from faucets. Water running through your pipes, even at a slow trickle, can help prevent them from freezing, the Red Cross says. 

READ: Drip vs no-drip faucets: What the city of Houston, Harris County are saying about preparing for the freeze

Pipes in apartment complexes

The Houston Public Works director said those who are renting an apartment do not need to drip their faucets or worry about other things because the apartment complex should take care of those preps for you. 

Prepping water heaters

If you have a water heater, Saad said there is no need to drain the water from the water heater because the pilot light will keep the water in the tank warm.

If you have an outside water heater, Saad said there's nothing to worry about unless you lose power.

"These systems come with heat stripes already included, so as long as we have power, we are in good shape," Saad said. "Now if we lose power, we have issues."

If you lose power, Saad aid you're going to want to drain your outside water heater.

Protecting your swimming pools

When it comes to pools, Laguna Pools in Katy said to keep your filter and pump running because the moving water in the pool will not freeze. If there's a pool heater, Laguna said to leave it off. The company said the unit can be damaged if it runs when the outdoor temperature is too cold. 

Answering YOUR questions about pipes

We asked for your questions about protecting your pipes throughout the day.  Here is Saad answering those questions that you asked.  

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