Hard Freeze Effects on Tucson’s Plumbing

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Tucson is widely known for its mild winters and golf all year long.  Most people come here to get out of the cold, but for those of us here last winter, we know there wasn’t much escaping the unusually cold weather.  With uncommon snow by November and record lows in February, it was a winter Tucson won’t soon forget.

It’s understandable to think when it gets cold that pipes will freeze.  What happened with a lot of the plumbing in Tucson last winter was more due to the length of the freeze.  It didn’t just get cold, it stayed cold and the longer it stays cold the more your pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting.  Tucson wasn’t prepared for two to three nights of subfreezing weather and the evidence of plumbing issues remained for weeks after.  Residents were faced with frozen pipes to their homes and irrigation systems.   Tucson plumbers were quick to respond, doing the necessary repairs around town.  The immediate, high demand for plumbing supplies caused Tucson’s stores to run out of the materials required to fix the pipes, actually causing some residents to be out of water for several weeks.  This unexpected hard freeze didn’t just affect residents; Tucson businesses also felt the chill, with hundreds of backflow units needing replacements or repairs in the weeks following the freeze.

Most of the plumbing issues could be attributed to lack of insulation and improperly maintained pipes.  To prevent a repeat of last winter’s events, you should thoroughly protect all exposed pipes around your home.  A great option is fiberglass insulation.  This insulation method will shield exposed pipes and be covered with a weather proof metal jacket; an option that is virtually maintenance free and can last up to ten years.  Another less expensive option would be to use self-adhesive foam insulation, but this doesn’t stand up to our blistering summer temperatures and may require yearly replacement.  The most effective way to prevent freezing is with heat tape.  This option may require some electrical work and is more expensive, but it will maintain an average pipe temperature of 42 degrees so as long as the electric is on the water is flowing.

With the winter months approaching, now is the best time to call Arizona Professional Plumbing at 721-9699 to schedule an appointment to get your plumbing properly insulated.