Austin, TX, January 19th, 2015 -- Texas and the Gulf Coast have already experienced a number of weather systems this winter that have brought exceptionally cold weather to the region. Many of these areas are not used to these extreme frigid temperatures and can be especially vulnerable to freezing pipes in homes and buildings.
As water freezes, it expands and can put tremendous pressure on both metal and plastic pipes. If a pipe does break, many supply lines can easily release hundreds of gallons or more of water in a short time. Water from a burst supply line will gradually make its way to the lowest area it can reach in the building, meaning a burst pipe on a second floor can cause water damage to that level of the property as well as the floor below and the basement or crawl space.
There are things people can do to help prevent pipes from freezing. They include the following:
· Insulate or heat any pipes that could be susceptible to freezing. These include hot water lines as they can also freeze when not in use. Don’t forget pipes that could be out of sight in basements, crawlspaces and attics.
· Remove and drain outdoor hose connections. If there is an indoor valve to these outdoor bibs turn them off, allow the pipes to drain and leave the outside valve open to allow any remaining water to expand without bursting the pipes.
· Keep garage doors closed if there are water lines located there or in garage walls. Also consider opening closets and cabinet doors inside the building to allow warm air to circulate if pipes are located behind them.
· Be sure the HVAC system in the building is operating properly. The American Red Cross recommends keeping the heat on at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit if the property will be empty. Turning the water off to the property and draining the water lines is also an option for vacant properties; however, this could prevent fire suppression systems from being able to operate.
· During extreme cold weather some people choose to allow a trickle of water to flow from a faucet to keep water in motion to prevent pipes from freezing.
“When a pipe does freeze and burst, it can ruin building materials, belongings and furnishings as well as allow for the growth of mold,” said Hollis L. Horner, President of Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. “Mold growing indoors can impact the indoor air quality and cause everything from allergies and hypersensitivity pneumonitis to triggering asthma in those with the condition. Some types of mold can even cause infections in people with a weakened immune system. At IEC, our building science professionals have performed thousands of investigations to identify the presence of mold and help develop solutions to prevent its return.”
IEC recently sponsored an educational video about burst pipes, water damage and mold that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/2COWOL40RkQ
About Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.
IEC began operations in 2001 with some of the nation’s most seasoned professional indoor air quality consultants who already had over 70 years of combined experience. The indoor environmental quality firm specializes in field investigations and assessments of commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Their services, related to fungal (mold), chemical, bacterial, asbestos and particulate pollutants, are offered throughout Texas, the Gulf Coast and the Southwest. IEC is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a mold assessment company (ACO0114) and an asbestos consultant agency (100329).