Jan 14, 2013 11:24 PM by Rebecca Taylor

Frozen pipes survival guide

TUCSON - Over the weekend Tucson Water received nearly 600 calls, and more than 400 of them were freeze-related.

It looks like those calls may continue.

Experts with Rite-Way Ventilating in Tucson explain what homeowners should do if they wake up to frozen pipes.

Experts say the worst thing you can do is leave the house.

"We're getting calls 24 hours a day," says Juan Grijalva, plumbing supervisor at Rite-Way.

They're getting flooded with emergency calls between 9 and 11am.

"Most people when they don't have water they leave the house for work or school, thinking everything is going to be okay. What happens is once ice inside the pipe melts it's going to be water coming out of that pipe making a real mess in the house," says Grijalva.

The fix he says can be a do-it-yourself project by connecting a garden hose to your hot water heater.

"We like to run a hose from that water heater to where the frozen pipe is, and just let hot water run on top of it. In a matter of minutes you're going to unfreeze that pipe," describes Grijalva.

He also has advice on what not to do. Whipping out a blow dryer he says is a waste of time.

A blow torch, while effective, can be dangerous. Leave it to the professionals.

"The safest and quickest way is with hot water," he says.

To avoid the frozen headache all together, Grijalva says homeowners can invest in a hot water circulation system. They start at $450 installed.

A more affordable option is foam insulated pipes wrapped in tape.

"It's recommended to replace insulation every three years, if it's not taped. If it's taped, then every five to six years," says Grijalva.

And leave a faucet dripping inside your home overnight. Grijalva recommends cold water so you're not wasting energy running hot water.

It's also a good idea to know where your emergency shut-off valve is located. Some are at the water meter by the street, others are close by the house.


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