5 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter

Winters in Texas can be unpredictable when it comes to freezing weather. In February 2021, millions of Texans found out that being unprepared for extreme winter weather can be disastrous. Hundreds of pipes without proper insulation burst from the freezing temperatures and caused major water damage to homes and businesses. A huge percentage of these repairs could have been avoided if proper winter plumbing preparations had been completed before the unexpected storm.

Protecting your plumbing should be high on your list of priorities regardless of the forecast.  Here is our list of ways to prepare your plumbing for a winter storm in Texas.

1. Insulate Your Pipes

Thermal insulation keeps pipe systems from freezing and bursting during a cold snap.

A water pipe’s worst enemy is freezing air. Insulating your pipe system is the easiest and most cost-effective way to protect your plumbing from rupturing during a freeze.  Foam insulation prevents cold air from reaching the pipe and the water inside. If freezing air does reach a water pipe, the water inside will expand as it starts to freeze and creates massive amounts of pressure inside the pipe. Water pipes will burst if too much pressure builds up inside of them causing major water damage and costly repairs.

Broken backflow preventers are the most common repair needed after a winter storm. Water can collect in components that are impossible to drain making them the first victims of burst pipes during a winter storm. Avoid these repairs by ensuring your backflow preventers are properly insulated.


2. Prevent Cold Air Intrusion

Keeping warmth inside is crucial to keeping indoor pipes from freezing.

It takes more energy to get warm than to stay warm. Don’t just insulate your pipes, make sure your property insulation is up to the challenge of protecting you and your plumbing. Preventing cold air from reaching your plumbing is the key to protecting your pipes from rupturing especially if you have lost power.

Check the sealant on your doors and windows and replace faulty seals so that cold air can’t creep into your property. Missing vent covers on foundation and attic vents are common places where freezing air enters into properties and causes pipes to burst. Keeping your garage door closed will also prevent warm air from escaping from your house.

Keep your cabinets open if you still have power and heat in your building to allow the warm air to circulate around the pipes.


3. Keep Your Water Flowing

Drip water from faucets to prevent freezing and pressure buildup in water pipes.

Dripping your faucet may seem like common knowledge, but many people fail to understand just how important it is or how to do it effectively.

Keeping your water flowing not only prevents it from freezing, but also releases pressure in the pipe that would otherwise cause it to rupture.

Drip one cold-water faucet slowly. It does not need to be a trickle. Drip the faucet furthest away from your main water shutoff valve.

Stop dripping your faucets and turn off your water at the main shutoff valve if you experience a power outage for over 24 hours. Purge your pipes of water to ensure that residual liquid does not freeze and increase pressure in the pipes.


4. Locate Your Water Shutoff Valve

Knowing how to turn off the water to your property is critical when the weather dips below freezing. If a pipe does burst on your property, you will want to turn off the water as quickly as possible to minimize the water damage that can occur.

Water shutoff valves are typically located near a property’s water meter outside and away from the structure but their location can vary. Take some time to look in and around your house to locate the valve.

It is possible to turn off the water at the water meter but many municipalities discourage doing so. Specialized water meter keys and wrenches are required to be able to open the water meter box and to turn off the water. These can be purchased either online or at home improvement stores.


5. Protect Your Outdoor Faucets

Installs faucet cover to protect the plumbing from freezing in the winter

Outdoor water faucets are often one of the most overlooked or forgotten about winter plumbing preparation. Be sure to disconnect hoses and store them properly. If you leave a hose connected to a faucet, ice can back up into the pipe and inside your property.

Hose bibs and spout covers are cheap and effective ways to insulate and protect your outdoor water spouts.




Effective plumbing is one of those utility services we tend to take for granted. Our faucets run, everything flushes and drains, and our access to clean water and wastewater disposal continues to consistently be present. But what about when it stops working? What happens when you see water pooling in your kitchen sink or your toilet starts flushing the wrong way? 

This may seem like a frustrating or frightening experience for most of us, being without functioning plumbing. For a homeowner, while it’s pretty frustrating and inconvenient, the next step is usually straightforward, like putting sticky notes on your home’s toilets and calling your trusted local plumber. But what if you are in the hospitality industry, and your restaurant’s dish washing sink won’t drain, or the toilet’s your customers use won’t flush? As easy as it is to still call your local trusted local commercial plumber, dysfunctional plumbing can be damaging to your restaurant. At the very least, it will slow down service and food production, and at the worst, it can deter potential or returning customers, who can’t use your toilet or hear “plumbing issues” at a restaurant and cross it off the list. 

That’s where Charlie’s Plumbing comes in. We are the most trusted commercial plumbing contractor in Houston, and we have been providing high-quality commercial plumbing services to Houston and the surrounding areas for the past 40 years, for a variety of industries. We have provided commercial plumbing service to a number of restaurants, hotels, bars, and other hospitality establishments in the greater Houston area, so keep reading to see five reasons why your restaurant should have a commercial plumbing contractor and how Charlie’s Plumbing can help.

Protect Against The Inevitable

Plumbing systems are pretty reliable when you consider the entire system and all that it does for your restaurant. But it’s just wishful thinking to hope that a plumbing problem won’t occur at your restaurant. Just like you might buy fire insurance, or increase your stock for a busy holiday weekend, finding a reliable commercial plumbing contractor is just another important step you should take to prepare and ensure your restaurant. Don’t wait for a busy day and broken pipes — plan for the inevitable and find a reliable commercial plumbing company that you can call for immediate service no matter what, like Charlie’s Plumbing in Houston.

Improve Service Efficiency

Ineffective or slow-working plumbing can really impact your restaurant’s ability to provide quick and effective service. A slow draining sink or a clogged grease trap can slow down the pace at which food can be cooked, plated, and served, leaving you angry customers and a dysfunctional restaurant. With a commercial plumbing contractor like Charlie’s Plumbing though, you can schedule consistent check-ups and maintenance to limit the potential of any plumbing issues hindering your restaurant, or have a trusted emergency commercial plumber to quickly contact if you need immediate commercial plumbing service.

Improve Kitchen Safety

As much as plumbing issues might slow certain restaurant processes down, any good restaurant and kitchen crew will try to power through any potential setback during a rush. However, this efficiency-first method might be dangerous combined with certain plumbing issues. For example, if a dishwashing sink won’t drain, those plates and silverware might get placed in work zones and present an obstacle to people handling sharp knives and hot surfaces. If a grease trap gets clogged, cleaning it mid-rush probably won’t happen, and a well-placed flame combined with the grease buildup could cause serious burns for a kitchen worker. Having regular plumbing maintenance, clean-up, and checkups from a trusted commercial plumbing contractor will mitigate any potential of these issues affecting kitchen safety.

Protect Your Customers

A big reason restaurant environments have very high cleanliness standards (i.e. health inspector) is that the germs and bacteria, inherent in standard plumbing appliances and sewer/water lines, are essentially side-by-side with prepared food that will be eaten by customers. So if your employees can’t wash their hands in a working sink, or go to the bathroom in the building, or even worse, experience a backflow of sewage water into potable water flow, you could have a real health hazard for your customers on your hands (literally and figuratively). A commercial plumbing contractor like Charlie’s Plumbing, can provide the regular maintenance and emergency commercial plumbing services that will avoid this issue and get your restaurant back to peak operation ASAP.

Maintain Your Business’s Image

Like the point above mentioned, restaurants generally have pretty high sanitation standards that they have to legally maintain. This can be extrapolated to generally high standards that customers expect from your restaurant, and customers can get cranky pretty quickly when those standards aren’t met. At full operating strength, we know your restaurant already performs at those high standards, but when you have a plumbing issue, operating at that standard becomes a lot more difficult. If customers can’t go to the bathroom because your toilets can’t flush, if a clogged dishwashing sink makes it takes twice as long for a customer to receive an order, if your soda machine can’t access potable water to keep working, these are all potential plumbing issues you could experience and they could cause some damage to your restaurant’s popularity and image. With a reliable commercial plumbing contractor, like Charlie’s Plumbing, you can get 24/7 emergency plumbing services, so any potential plumbing issue can be dealt with immediately, mitigating any PR damage.


When you own and operate a restaurant, one of the last things you are probably considering is what to do if your plumbing goes kaputz. And you won’t really have to consider it, until a plumbing issue presents itself, and by that point, the damage to your restaurant might have already been done. Don’t wait until there is an issue — hire a commercial plumbing contractor like Charlie’s Plumbing in Houston, and improve your peace of mind with Houston’s most trusted commercial plumbing company. Call us today!

Why Your School Needs Proper Plumbing

While access to running water and functional plumbing has been the norm for almost 200 years now, at times we might take for granted just how consistent and widespread that access is. We might forget to appreciate how good we have it until we lose it.This consistency is now critical to our everyday lives, which is why plumbing is such an important job.

We expect this access wherever we go: taking a shower at home, gas stations bathrooms, public drinking fountains, sprinklers at a golf course, even an industrial dishwasher at a restaurant. These places just can’t function properly if their plumbing isn’t working like it should, and a school is no different.

Schools already serve the difficult function of corralling and teaching lots of children, so not being able to rely on toilets flushing or fire sprinklers working would be both a health and safety nightmare for any school.

Charlie’s Plumbing knows how important plumbing is to everyone, especially when they really need it. Here are a few reasons why your school might need the proper plumbing, and how Charlie’s Plumbing can make that happen.


Our constant access to functional plumbing is a modern convenience, but you might not consider that faulty plumbing could actually be a safety and/or a health concern. Which is even more disconcerting if those safety and health concerns occurred at the place where we send our kids for most of the day, five times a week.

With poorly maintained plumbing, a fire sprinkler system that might fail to funnel water to the sprinklers could lead to horrible consequences if there were a fire. Certain pressure differentials in piping could lead to a backflow of nasty chemicals or bacteria back through the pipes, contaminating clean drinking water. Eroded pipes and seals can lead to gas line leaks which, if undetected, could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and death, or even an explosion. A burst pipe could also be leaking out toxic building chemicals or creating an electrical shock situation that could be real dangerous.

While these might not seem like very likely occurrences, no one ever expects them to be, and you should never gamble with a child’s safety by allowing improper plumbing practice at their school. Charlie’s Plumbing is proud to use smart and safe commercial plumbing practices, and has plenty of experience handling big, small, or emergency services at a variety of different education institutions in and around Houston.


A broken drinking fountain is nowhere near as critical of a plumbing issue as a gas leak or piping backflow might be, but non-emergency plumbing issues are still something that should be avoided at all costs at your school. As we mentioned before, improper plumbing makes it harder for a place or institution to function properly, and you do not want a school that can’t properly take of children and teach them.

Some clogged toilets in the boys bathroom might disrupt valuable class time by limiting where a child can go to the bathroom or how long they will take to find a working one. A burst faucet head might lead to dirty water puddles, wet clothes and sneakers, and some angry calls from parents. A low-pressure drinking fountain will lead to more kids putting their mouths on the spout, which could lead to a spread of infection and missed school days.

While these issues are probably not matters of life or death like other plumbing emergencies might be, it goes to show that a school with dysfunctional plumbing might become a dysfunctional school.

This is why your schools need to use commercial plumbers that they can trust. Charlie’s Plumbing has a consistent history providing excellent commercial plumbing services to schools in and around the Houston area. We want to keep your schools running smoothly, and allow the teaching and education to be on your mind, not possible plumbing issues or improper plumbing practices.


Charlie’s Plumbing has been providing commercial plumbing services to the Houston area since 1979. All that history has given folks a lot of faith in our services, because we have provided quality commercial plumbing so consistently, for so long. And when you are determining the right plumbing services for your school district, daycare center, or university, you simply need the reliable best, and nothing less. Charlie’s Plumbing can provide that, as we have been for the past 40 years to the greater Houston area. Call Charlie’s and see what commercial plumbing services we can provide to your educational institution.

Common Commercial Plumbing Myths

Plumbing is a complex field that covers a range of utilities and services we use in our everyday life. It takes a licensed professional to be able to determine and fix any possible plumbing issues, but there are a few “facts” and practices that have circulated long enough to gain traction, even though they aren’t accurate or helpful. Here are a few common commercial plumbing myths and the truth behind them!

Charlie’s Plumbing is proud to have both knowledgeable and experienced commercial plumbers, and we want to make sure that any work done by any commercial plumber for any place is properly done. Call us today and see why we have been the go-to commercial plumbing company in Houston for 40 years.


This common myth is a dream for the optimists out there. But unfortunately, the effects of plumbing issues don’t always happen immediately, or at least might not present themselves so clearly. A drain that takes longer to drain than usual, but still drains all the way might be showing early signs of a clog or another major plumbing problem. If your water is starting to taste a little metallic or odd, but still looks clear and runs well, there might be some chemicals leaking into your water. Don’t let minor plumbing problems turn into major ones; call Charlie’s Plumbing today.


A common burial for dead (or assumed dead) fish is to be flushed down your home toilet, out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately, this is actually a bad practice and can be potentially harmful to the environment, as well as cruel to the fish. The fish are usually alive more often than not, and have to swim through toxic materials which generally kill them pretty slowly. Living and dead fish can carry diseases that can potentially spread to native fish populations. Put your poor guppy in a plastic bag and you can safely dispose of them in the trash, or if that is too barbaric, you can put the bag in a box and bury it in your yard.


Other than constantly making you think that you will get your finger chopped off, the sturdy and whirring blades of your garbage disposal are very adept at crushing and mulching food waste for disposal. But they aren’t invincible and neither are your drain pipes. Bones can dull the blades, and even if they make it through, they won’t make it past your drain. Celery, banana peels, and potato peels can become stringy and wrap around the blades, which could break the motor. If your garbage disposal has trouble mulching things, or if you have already put one of these items in your garbage disposal, give Charlie’s Plumbing a call and see what we can do.


While you usually feel pretty safe in your house during a thunderstorm, a running shower might actually be somewhat risky. The absurdly powerful electric current produced by lightning strikes can actually travel through the conductive metal pipes and into your shower water or standing water in your bath, shocking you. Even if you have plastic pipes, water is also an excellent conductor and the electric current can still travel through the water currently in your pipes. Avoid other water sources in your house during a lightning storm, including sinks, dishwashers, or washing machines. You should also avoid things that conduct electricity in your home, like anything plugged into an outlet.


When you get a clog in your sink, it is very tempting to get some powerful commercial drain cleaner and pour it down on the clog until it is eaten away. However, those same nasty cleaning chemicals that might clear out the clog can actually eat away your pipes and erode them entirely. They are also terrible for the environment if their path down the drain takes them to a water treatment plant or watershed area. If your drain has a clog, as enticing as it might sound to try to fix it yourself with drain cleaner, give Charlie’s Plumbing commercial services a call before and see how we can help.


Hopefully, you learned something new, or a little bit more of what to do to keep your plumbing running right. Charlie’s Plumbing is a proud commercial plumbing service provider for the Houston area for 40 years now. Our talented team of HVAC and plumbing specialists provide school plumbing, government plumbing, local plumbing, and hospitality plumbing services whenever they are required. Give us a call today, and see how Charlie’s Plumbing can best serve you.


Welcome to the Charlie’s Plumbing blog! We are excited to use this platform and share some interesting articles and plumbing tips with you all. At Charlie’s Plumbing, we have a rich history of providing quality industrial, residential, and commercial plumbing services. We have built a strong reputation as Houston’s most trusted plumbing company — and with good reason, as we have been providing our expert commercial plumbing services to the Texas Gulf Coast area since 1979.

We are proud to serve virtually every industry in the Greater Houston area. And we are very committed to maintaining the great relationships we have with local businesses and institutions who trust us because of our strong history of quality craftsmanship. Give Charlie’s Plumbing a call today and see how we can help.

From The Woodlands to Galveston, from Katy to Baytown, we go wherever commercial plumbing services are required in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area — and sometimes even farther than that. We perform practically any type of plumbing service, big or small, commercial or residential, routine maintenance or 24/7 emergency service, etc. Our plumbing specialists have years of extensive experience, thorough training and education, and a passion to provide our customers with the services they need.

Plumbing is a critical amenity that we often take for granted, and we might not realize how much we rely on it until we can’t rely on it. That’s why we take so much pride in our work; because we know how important the service we are providing is, and how important quality plumbing service can be to a home, business, school, hospital, or a community. We serve a number of industries and locations because everyone needs functional plumbing services


• Commercial — All types of office buildings, medical complexes, and free-standing businesses
• Residential — Big homes, small homes, condos, apartments, and HOA’s, we provide most plumbing and HVAC services, with background-checked and drug-tested plumbers
• Education — College campuses, high schools and primary schools, cafeterias, daycare centers, you name it, we can service it!
• Plants and Manufacturing — We have a specifically trained team that is annually certified to handle plumbing services for chemical and manufacturing plants
• Government — Our managers and technicians are TWIC and HASC certified, diligent in following relevant security procedures
• Hospitality — Restaurants, bars, hotels, golf courses, and wherever else plumbing is critical for a good and safe hospitality experience
• Healthcare — Providing sanitary and safe conditions to hospitals, clinics, dentists, and nursing homes
• Non-Profit — Whether it’s a church or museum or an arts or service company, we want to work with your tight budget

No plumbing job is too big or too small for us. We provide all kinds of installation, repair, and maintenance to any area or institution that needs it. Broken and leaky water heater? Trying to install a new boiler system? Call Charlie’s Plumbing. Roof drain clogged? Grease trap not filtering properly? Call Charlie’s Plumbing. Concerned about possible toxic water backflow? Want to see a video from inside your sewage pipe? You guessed it — call Charlie’s Plumbing.

We have served the Houston area for 40 years with quality commercial plumbing services and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. For all of your commercial plumbing needs, contact Charlie’s Plumbing today.