Posted on: November 24, 2013
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Plumbing
There are some experiences most people never want to have – like a broken pipe. The aggravation and expense is bad enough, but there’s also the damage to our home. Walls, ceilings, and floors have to be replaced. Those memories stored in the basement or crawl space can be ruined. The damage may be covered by insurance, but you could have to pay for it all by yourself. Either way, you still have to live in a soggy construction zone until it’s repaired. Preventing frozen pipes is a much better option.
Before it’s too late, we need to think about preparing for the prolonged winter freezes. Planning ahead can make a surprise cold snap less of a surprise.
If you are caught with your pipes exposed, you may find you have a frozen pipe. If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle – if anything – comes out, you might be able to thaw the pipe before any damage occurs. Frozen pipes usually occur in exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation. Apply gentle heat to the frozen section of pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, heat gun, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any open flame. Apply heat until the full water pressure is restored. Keep the faucet open and as the frozen area begins to melt, the running water will begin to flow and help melt more ice in the pipe. Check all the faucets in your home. If one pipe is frozen, others may be, too. If you can’t locate the frozen area or if you can’t thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
Even with your preparations for the cold weather, a pipe can still freeze. But it can be a manageable problem instead of a complete disaster. First, determine where the pipe burst and if it is still frozen. You’ll want to repair the burst pipe before it thaws. You may need to shut off the main water supply to the entire house. The main shut off valve is usually located near the water meter or where the water supply enters into your home, but it may be out near the street. Then call your licensed plumber. Soak up any standing water with a towel or use a wet dry vac. Use fans to circulate the air to dry carpeting, etc. and prevent mold from growing. Depending on the amount of water, you may have to pull up the flooring or replace drywall and base boards.
Your licensed plumber may repair the burst metal pipe with a PEX plastic pipe. This might help prevent future breaks. But, you may want to consider relocating exposed pipes to prevent future problems. You may also want to consider adding more insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Your certified plumber may have additional suggestions and may have specials on equipment or other services. They may also have service plans, like The Abacus Club, that can help save you money on service calls and provide annual plumbing tune-ups.
You can call Abacus Plumbing & Air Conditioning in Houston 24/7 at 713-766-3605 or visit www.AbacusPlumbingAC.com for questions and scheduling information. Or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abacusplumbing.