Every homeowner’s worst nightmare is waking up to a flooded front lawn because of a broken pipe underground. Not only is there the lost time at work to contend with, but also the lost wages that go hand-in-hand with the absence from work. Depending on whether or not you intend on patching the problem or replacing the piping altogether, fixing a broken pipe can be costly. However, it’s something that needs to be fixed immediately. After all, you’ll find it hard going about your day without running water at home.
Plumbing Re-Pipe Upgrade
One of the best investments you can make in your home is having your current pipes replaced with copper ones. Copper piping, unlike the inexpensive piping that many homes were outfitted with years ago, is resistant to corrosion. That means you won’t have to deal with discolored water because of rust that is developing within the pipe or with replacing the fittings very often. You also don’t have to contend with the lead content that happens to be present in galvanized piping (which is nothing more than a corrosive-prone metal like steel coated with zinc to prevent corrosion). Other advantages include a reduction in mineral buildup from hard water running through the pipes, and also less bacteria in the water supply (copper has special bacteria-fighting properties).
Some homeowners are ambitious by nature and toy with the idea of undertaking the project themselves. However, this is something that is best left to a professional. There are a number of issues that the average person fails to take into account when toying with the idea of tackling the project themselves, including what diameter pipe is the most suitable as well as how the water lines are best routed. You also need to have special skills beyond cutting the old pipe out, like knowing how to solder. Sure, most people are reluctant to invest thousands of dollars into something they didn’t envision coming, but it will be well worth your money later on.
Where To Be Most Diligent
If you live in a cold climate where your area experiences freezing temperatures in the winter, especially temperatures below freezing, you may have experienced or one day have to deal with the problem of frozen pipes. Frozen pipes, if they should break, can cause significant water damage to your home and your property inside it, when the frozen water thaws and sprays out of the broken pipes. You not only have broken pipes and fixtures that need repair, you may also flood your home with water.
If your pipes have frozen and you notice indications that a pipe has broken, do not attempt to thaw the pipe. Call a plumber immediately. But if one or more of your pipes are frozen and do not appear broken, you can attempt to thaw them yourself.
Strategy 1: Thawing An Exposed Pipe One way to thaw an exposed pipe is to take a heat gun or hair dryer and, turning them on and setting them to a high setting, aim one at the pipe in question a move it back and forth along the pipe until the water inside thaws. Another method involves heating water in a kettle to the boiling point. Wrap an area of the frozen pipe in question with a rag or other cloth and secure it, for example, with wire. Pour the hot water on the rag. When the water on the cloth cools, pour on more hot water. Do this until the water thaws and move on to adjacent areas of the pipe that still have ice inside.
Strategy 2: Thawing a Pipe in a Wall If you have a frozen pipe behind a wall and you are reasonably sure that the pipe is not broken, you can attempt to thaw it using another method. Set up an electric space heater or heat lamp near the wall with the frozen pipe behind it. Keep the space heater or heat lamp at least two feet from the wall, to reduce the chance of fire or wall damage. Aim the heater or lamp at the wall and turn it on, monitoring it constantly. Remember that safety should be your primary concern. While this method will take longer than those for exposed pipes, it can nonetheless be effective.
During the next cold spell, try to keep these areas warmer. Insulate piping you can access. Keep the home itself a bit warmer to maintain the warmth of the pipes.
Prevention is the best approach to protecting plumbing, but if you do need assistance with pipes and fixtures that have frozen, call your local plumber for assistance. New plumbing and some clean-up will solve the problem. Prevention will keep it from happening again. If all esle has failed and you need to call an emergency plumber then here is a local Vancouver company we recommend.
KC’s Plumbing and Heating
Vancouver BC, V5N 2S7