Cold weather is coming to the Greater New Orleans area – and like other cold-winter climates that are well prepared, we in the South have to take special precautions when the thermometer drops below the freeze line.
We have to take special precautions to respect the cold. In the best of times, water can be a formidable enemy, but in New Orleans where water can manifests as ice for days, the challenges are profound.
Here are tips to follow to protect your home from the coming freezing weather and all the problems that go with it.
Guard your pipes
To keep outdoor plumbing fixtures from freezing, disconnect and store any garden hoses as the weather begins to turn cold. Then, shut off the water to your outdoor faucets, drain the lines, and insulate the hose bibs.
When indoor plumbing pipes run through exterior walls, take care to monitor them and make sure wall insulation is up to recommended standards in advance of the cold weather coming.
Seal holes and cracks
Even small holes where cable wires or phone lines enter your home can be an entry point for freezing air—or places where precious indoor heat can escape. Purchase a can of foam insulation and close them up. Then, use weather stripping, spray foam insulation, or caulking to remedy any cracks around your doors and windows.
Keep water flowing
If any of your indoor faucets are located on exterior walls that aren’t adequately insulated, set your faucets to a slow drip whenever temperatures dip well below freezing. This is usually necessary only during especially the bitter cold spell that is impending in New Orleans. Faucets and pipes located along exterior walls are especially susceptible to freezing.
For maximum effectiveness, make sure both the hot and cold lines are opened slightly since both are vulnerable. Also, consider leaving cabinet doors open so your pipes will be warmed from the room air.l
Find your Water Shutoff
Should a water line ever freeze and burst, you will need to shut off the home’s water supply immediately. If junk is blocking easy access to your main water shut valve off, rearrange such so that it will be easily accessible in the event of a plumbing emergency. Then, make sure the shut-off valve is in good working order. Turning the valve handle all the way clockwise should shut off all water to the house. If the valve is rusted open or only closes partially, replace the main shut-off valve immediately—this is usually a job for a professional plumber.
Go a step further, and make sure everyone in your house knows where the shut off valve is located and how to use it to turn off the water.
Locate your Water Meter
Invest in a meter key (or keep an adjustable wrench handy), so you’ll be able to shut off the water at the meter, should the shut-off valve ever fail you. Then, practice turning the water on and off, so you’ll know how it’s done.
Your city may have regulations against shutting off the water yourself. If so, keep the water department’s emergency number handy, so you’ll be able to report problems quickly.
Close the garage
If your garage is attached to your home, minimize the time your garage door is open. This will help to keep cold air out of your house and protect plumbing fixtures in your garage and pipes in the shared walls between the house and garage.
And if you need any help – Rooter Man Can! We provide pipe-wrapping services – and, in those cases, emergency plumbing services for frozen pipes.