Whether you have recently moved to Texas or have noticed that Texans struggle with freezing pipes and want to know just what is going on with the plumbing in Texas homes, we have everything you need to know! Let’s find out: Why do homes in Texas have water pipes in the attic?
Most homes in Texas are on slabs and therefore don’t have basements, which is why the water pipes and even water heaters are usually in the attic. However, this system is proving to be problematic for Texans as attics are not nearly as insulated as basements.
In this article, we are going to dig into why water pipes are in the attic in most Texas homes, the pros and cons of this setup, and what you can and should do if you live in a Texas home with pipes in the attic to protect your home.
Why Do Homes in Texas Have Water Pipes in the Attic?
While it may seem strange that Texas homes have their water pipes in the attic, there is a fairly simple reason: most Texas homes do not have basements, so there is nowhere else to put them!
When homes were being built in Texas over the past half a century, because of the topography of the soil and the water line, basements were considered too risky as they could lead to flooding. Instead, builders opted for attics, and the water pipes needed to go somewhere!
Historically, Texas weather has always been temperate if not warm all year round, so having the water pipes in the attic has never really been a problem even though attics are not typically insulated enough to protect pipes from freezing weather.
However, as you may already know, Texas recently experienced an unbelievable cold front in 2021 during which millions of homes experienced frozen pipes in their attics. This catastrophe left millions with flooding and damage throughout their homes, and everyone started asking themselves: why do homes in Texas have water pipes in their attic?!
The truth is, when the temperatures aren’t freezing, there are a few advantages to having water pipes in the attic, however, there are certainly also a few downsides.
Pros and Cons of Having Pipes in the Attic
Here’s the thing, having pipes in the attic can only work if your home is in a state that does not experience freezing temperatures, like Texas before the storm.
However, having water pipes in the attic is also considered quite convenient because when they need to be repaired, they are easy to access! You don’t have to dig into the concrete floor or wall to fix or even assess attic water pipes, which can significantly cut costs and time when it comes to plumbing issues.
Having pipes in the attic can also mean easy and cheap insulations, and realistically can save a ton of money on building costs too. All in all, pipes in the attic sounded like quite a good idea until it wasn’t.
The con of having water pipes in the attic is very important. If water pipes freeze, they burst, and your entire home can flood in a very short period of time. Burst pipes and extreme water damage are extremely expensive to fix, so all that money you saved by putting pipes in the attic will be gone if there is a bad storm.
Although it may seem like the cons outweigh the pros in regards to water pipes in the attic, especially now that we know that cold fronts can really affect them, it’s important to understand that there are some tactics Texans can take in order to protect their homes and pipes even though they are in the attic.
How to Protect Pipes the Attic of Your Texas Home
If you live in Texas and have pipes in your attic, here’s what you can do to protect your home:
- Insulate the pipes properly. This is incredibly important and should be done by a professional to ensure it will keep your pipes safe, even in a storm!
- Run the pipes through the bottom of the attic. The closer the pipes are to the home, the warmer they will stay!
- Turn off your water if it gets too cold. While many northerners are used to shutting down their water supply when a cold front hits, Texans haven’t had a lot of experience with freezing temperatures. If your water pipes are in your attic, as soon as the thermometer starts showing numbers close to freezing, shut off your water!
When in doubt, it’s always good to reach out to a professional plumber about your pipes so you are sure you have all the information you need for your home.
The Bottom Line
So, why do homes in Texas have water pipes in the attic? Well, it’s actually pretty simple: Texas homes don’t usually have basements, and it usually is not cold enough to make water pipes in the attic a risky setup.
As promised, you now know everything there is to know about water pipes in Texas homes, including the many pros and cons and even how to best protect them to keep your home safe and sound!