Plumber gives tips for frozen pipe problems - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Plumber gives tips for frozen pipe problems

BRITTONS NECK, SC (WMBF) - If your water completely stops flowing from the faucet, that's a sign your pipes are freezing. That pipe will either thaw when it gets warmer or break.

"My advice is you're just going to have to wait it out and wait until the water thaws back and then see if you have burst pipes or whether they just froze," said Marshall Hepler, owner of Hepler Plumbing.

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly where a pipe system has frozen and gotten backed up. Because of that, a plumber can't help until there's an actual leak in the system.

Signs of a leakage include the sound of water running under the house or flooding around wherever the pipe is that burst.

"You'll find the water real quick and if it's underneath the house, most of the time, you'll hear it or you'll have a loss of pressure in the system. Water shows up real quick," Hepler said.

Turning off the water supply as soon as you notice the pipe has frozen can reduce the chance of significant water damage if it breaks. If water is still coming out of the faucet, keep the faucet running to try to thaw it out.

A new piping material, called PEX, has decreased the chance of pipes bursting since it's use over the past decade. It's made of plastic and is more flexible.

"The new tubing has helped tremendously as far as the plumbing industry," Hepler said. "A lot of the pipes don't freeze like they used to."

Cost of repairs for a broken pipe can run between a service fee and thousands of dollars if the damage is extensive.

Taking preventative measures before it gets too cold outside, such as opening cabinets to expose pipes to heat, dripping water out of faucets and covering any holes that could expose piping to the outside air, are the key to keeping pipes from freezing.

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