NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The stretch of freezing temperatures has kept plumbers busy, and they don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon as pipes begin to thaw out, and people realize they have burst.
Ron Arvin, owner of Arvin’s Plumbing has worked 12- to 18-hour days since Christmas Eve, at first helping customers with frozen pipes, and now repairing burst ones.
“The pipes that are thawing, they’re literally flooding the rooms right now,” Arvin said.
Arvin spent hours Tuesday going door-to-door fixing pipes, including a pipe that burst at an apartment in Hermitage.
“She had water blowing out of her ceiling and onto her floor,” Arvin said.
Arvin told News 2 many people didn’t prepare their homes for the cold weather, or their plumbing system couldn’t handle the freezing temperatures, especially if their water pipes were placed along an outside wall.
“You find out where pipes are prior to inspections and upgrades where people were moving fixtures around, they’re putting pipes in the wrong locations,” Arvin said. “You’re not supposed to have your pipes on the outside walls. You’re allowed to have your drain lines on the outside walls, but not your water lines.”
In addition, Arvin said much of the area’s plumbing isn’t designed to handle single-digit temperatures.
“We’re better off at 35-degree days, 15-degree nights, this area is okay with that, but when it gets down to the 0 and 10 and it doesn’t come out of freezing for days in a row, that is what really hurts the pipes,” Arvin said.
The wind can do as much damage to pipes as the freezing temperatures, according to Arvin. To help prevent frozen and burst pipes, find a way to stop the wind from reaching your pipes, close your foundation vents and insulate your crawl space for the cold weather. You should also keep faucets located along the outside walls on a steady stream, not just a drip.
Most importantly, Arvin said everyone must know how to turn off their water using their shut-off valve in case of a burst pipe.
“You should always know how to shut off your water, and your family members, spread the information,” Arvin said. “If you know, make sure the wife and the husband and everybody needs to know, even the children, if there’s water running through the ceiling, run to this valve over here and shut this off.”
Some homes don’t have an interior water shut-off valve. Arvin said a professional plumber could install one.
Water can also be shut off from the water meter using a meter key from a home improvement store.