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How To Protect Your Hot Water Tank During Freezing Weather Conditions

January 3rd 2024

NCT Plumbing provides expert plumbing services throughout Fort Worth, Texas. We have been proudly serving the Fort Worth Area for over five decades. Our expert care, friendly manner, and years of industry knowledge help us establish customers for life.

In 2021, Texas experienced a historic winter storm and local temperatures dropped far below normal. Our homes and buildings were exposed to blizzard-like conditions. Like most Texas plumbers, we did our best to support Texans and share emergency information as quickly as we could to help homeowners protect their hot water tanks.

Need repair or maintenance services for your water heater? Learn more on our Water Heater page.

We learned and shared lots of useful information from the experience. We have gathered the most helpful tips we shared for protecting your hot water tank when it is exposed to freezing temperatures:

Keep a Hot Water Tap In The House On A Drip

If there is a chance the water heater will be without power and/or exposed to freezing conditions, then your water heater will benefit from turning on a hot water faucet and leaving a small amount of water running. This small action will protect your water system, piping, and valves from freezing when the temperature drops by keeping it moving instead of sitting to freeze. If you forget to run your faucet before your lines freeze then there may not be anything you can do until the temperature begins to rise.

Install a Recirculator

A hot water recirculation system is the most common solution for ensuring a supply of hot water in your home. Freezing damage occurs when standing water inside the unit turns into ice, expanding as it freezes and damaging the internal components. A recirculation system can solve this problem by keeping the water in your system moving. Many advanced water heaters are compatible with a recirculation system and the plumbers at NCT can inspect and install the unit so you don’t have to.

Find out more about the water heater repair and replacement services we offer.

Turn Off The Water Heating Tank, If Needed

If your water heater is going to remain idle for an extended period, the power and water on the heater should be turned off. As with any other appliance, you should turn off the unit first and then unplug it from the power source second. After that, you will be free to turn off the water supply to the tank and drain the unit’s water. Once you’re finished don’t forget to cover the intake and exhaust vents to keep dust and debris out.

Drain The Tank

Even a small amount of standing water in your unit can freeze and cause damage. You can prevent this by draining the unit, especially if a cold spell is expected to last 48 hours or more. Do this manually by turning off the cold water supply valve and opening the pressure relief valve on the hot side. You can then drain the water from your unit until it stops running. When that happens, return the pressure relief handle to the off position.

Some of the more recent water heaters have a built-in heating feature that prevents freezing. This feature is only functional while the power supply is on, so don’t rely on it if you’ve turned off your water heater’s power.

You should also note that after an extended shutdown, the water heater’s operation and controls should be reviewed by a qualified service technician.

Call NCT Plumbing inspect your water heater after an extended shutdown.

Insulate your Water Tank and Pipes

Use an insulation solution to prevent plumbing and water heater damage during the cold. This is a popular choice adopted by many homeowners in northern climates. Before cold weather hits, check the state of any insulation on pipes leading into your water heater. Ensure they are in good shape or remove/replace any damaged sections.

For more cold-weather tips, reach out to our team at NCT Plumbing! Our Texas plumbers are experts at maintaining hot water tanks!

Call us for a one-time maintenance visit, regular maintenance, repair, or replacement today!

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