Plumbing pro tips for homeowners with frozen or broken pipes

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Many people in central Texas deal with frozen or even broken pipes. Concerns about pipe bursting won’t increase until later in the week when they start to thaw.

“We have received a lot of calls from people wanting to pre-book service calls because their pipes are frozen and unfortunately we don’t have the ability to do so because there will be so many people who actually have broken pipes when they thaw . We need to reach out to these people first, ”said Mike Marugo, Austin Plumbing executive at ABC Home and Commercial.

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ABC Home and Commercial hasn’t been able to get plumbers on the street in the past few days. But once the roads are safe enough for that, Marugo says they’ll be working around the clock to fix people quickly.

“Find and listen to anything that doesn’t look or sound right,” he said. “If you see water anywhere that it cannot see, close your pipe. If you hear water in a place that it doesn’t belong to, turn off your water. “

Marugo does not advise doing anything other than turning off the water in your home and then waiting.

“If you were mechanical, the right amount of knowledge, the right tools, and the right equipment, you might be able to do something, but most people don’t and they will only make it worse. Said Marugo.

It won’t be a quick fix. Marugo’s plumbing team in Austin is already fully booked in the first week of March.

“Most plumber calls are not completed on the first visit because there are so many people who have no hot water, so many people who have no water at all,” said Marugo. “If I send a plumber into the house, he’ll have to figure out what’s the fastest thing I can do to get water back into this house.”

According to Marugo, plumbers can do quick fixes, such as: B. temporarily cover a broken line and supply the rest of the house with water.

“Then I have to move on to the next one because they don’t all have water,” Marugo said, explaining that at some point the plumbers would return to their homes to find the full solution.

What to do with frozen pipes and how to turn off the water if they burst

If your pipes are frozen, Marugo says you don’t have to do anything unless you notice a leak.

“They can often freeze up and the pipes are fine. Sometimes they freeze and the pipes don’t. There’s really no way of knowing until the ice melts. Then the water will return to that point. If the pipe is broken, you will find out. “

Marugo also has a warning for homeowners with an outside mounted water heater. He says it might freeze if you lose power.

Once this happens, the parts inside are difficult to repair. According to Marugo, many companies don’t guarantee tankless water heaters if they freeze. So you could be spending thousands of dollars on a new water heater.

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However, if your power goes out but you still have water, you can still try to prevent it from happening, he says.

“At this point, all you can really do is go in and open several hot water taps, much more than just dripping them. You want a good, steady flow of these so that they can move as much water through this machine as possible. “

Even if the water does not come out hot, according to Marugo it is important to turn on the “hot” side of the tap for this to work.

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