Northeast plumber gives tips for preventing frozen pipes

By JOSHUA PHILLIPS
Northeast News
February 5, 2014

It is typical to assume that all winter hazards occur outdoors in the cold; however, one indoor hazard can ruin a home.

As temperatures drop below freezing, Northeast plumber Dennis Hammontree is reminding Northeast residents to watch out for frozen pipes. Hammontree said the typical homeowner does not have the same knowledge about pipes that a plumber does and offered tips for area homeowners.

“The best thing you could do is have water running in your house, (because) moving water will not freeze,” Hammontree said. “Even though people think it will be expensive running this water constantly, it will be cheaper in the long-run than hiring a plumber.”

Customers have used other methods, he said, like wrapping their pipes with insulation as well as trying to thaw the pipes themselves. While Hammontree said those methods are okay, he still recommends running water as the number one thing to do. One reason Hammontree dislikes thawing pipes as a method is because homeowners usually use torches and space heaters; although it can thaw frozen pipes, it can also set houses on fire.

Hammontree also recommends keeping the water running as a light stream, even when leaving the house. He also said to use cold water rather than hot water because the molecules are closer in hot water to a freezing position, causing the hot water to freeze faster than cold water.

In a news release from the city of Kansas City, Mo., the city reminded residents that some may be in a water shortage due to frozen pipes from the “extreme sub-zero”. By following the city’s steps from the email, residents can “prevent pipes from freezing and bursting inside homes, which can lead to costly repairs.”

Some of the tips the city suggests is for residents to “disconnect and drain outdoor hoses, insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas, seal off access doors, air vents and cracks, locate the master shutoff valve so water can quickly be shut-off if a leak occurs and leave a pencil-lead-thin stream of water flowing during freezing weather.”

“Kansas City Water Services customers may experience interruptions to water service due to the extreme sub-zero weather, which may cause water to freeze and water mains to break throughout the metropolitan area,” the city’s news release said. “Water Services encourages customers to call 311 or (816) 513-1313 to report incidents of no water service at homes and businesses due to freezing temperatures. Water Services crews will continue to work around the clock to ensure water service is returned to customers as soon as possible.”

If a pipe bursts while a resident is away from their home, there can be more costs to cover than replacing a broken pipe. Hammontree said if a pipe leaks from the ceiling or a wall, then the carpet can get soaked, meaning the carpet will need to be replaced to prevent mold from spreading through the house.

“The best deal is to just let the water run,” Hammontree said.

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