In Louisiana, freezing cold weather typically lasts only a few days. A cold front will move through from the north and then we’ll return to moderate temperatures in the following days. When these blasts of cold arrive, you need to prepare your plumbing to prevent bigger issues.
Here's what we recommend:
On exterior walls, or in areas of your house that do not get a lot of heat, let your hot and cold faucets drip overnight, and open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes under sinks.
Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
Use foam or wrap insulation (available from plumbing supply and home improvement stores) to protect outside faucets and pipes from freezing. Inspect your existing insulation, especially in areas that are exposed to the elements. Temporary insulation (towels, blankets, newspaper, etc.) is better than nothing.
Check your property for all exposed pipes that carry water. This includes outdoor faucets, bibs and valves. Seal all areas that allow cold outside air to get in where pipes are located.
If you're going away for an extended period of time, be sure to maintain adequate heat inside your home at no lower than 55 degrees.
Don't use a space heater to heat your pipes. But, if you do, insure it is not close to anything flammable. A space heater should be at least three feet from anything combustible.
Locate the water shut-off valve in your home in advance of a water emergency, so you know where to go if a pipe bursts.
Program your local utility contact information into your cell phone now, before you need them.
If you have a frozen pipe, here are a few things to be aware of:
First and foremost, be patient, there is no quick fix.
Any area that is exposed to the outdoors is the likely point where a freeze took place. There may also be more than one frozen spot.
Pipes need to gradually warm up. A quick warm up is not recommended and may lead to further damage. Do not pour hot water over a frozen pipe or do anything that would cause a rapid rise in temperature. For example, do not use open flame torches.
Use something to blow warm air (such as a hair dryer) on the frozen section to begin the warming process. Wave the warm air back and forth on the pipe. Keep a faucet ‘on’ during thawing to prevent a surge of water from rushing through your pipes. This may cause more damage.
If the pipe bursts upon thawing, or if there is already a leak or drip from the frozen area, immediately turn off the water at the main supply valve.
For assistance with winterizing your home, or if you have a leak or broken pipe from freezing, please call Branch Brothers Plumbing.
A leaking water line underneath your home can be a problem that needs attention quickly. A leak under your home's foundation can be difficult to notice or locate. In the plumbing world this is called a slab leak. A slab leak is when a water pipe under your concrete structure breaks, splits, or bursts and begins to leak. Slab leaks occur when the pipes in your foundation become corroded. It can also happen if a pipe bursts. These are two of the main culprits.
When slab leaks occur, it’s because the pipes in your foundation may have pinhole leaks. These leaks are most commonly caused by corrosion, which can happen as a result of the foundation settling. This issue is more common in older homes. The older the home, the more it has settled into its foundation.
If not found and fixed quickly, a slab leak can cause major damage to your home. The leaking water can cause damage to the foundation, walls, and even flooring. It can also cause your wood to rot, and bring in a abundance of termites and ants, as well as create the perfect atmosphere for mold to grow.
After locating your slab leak, and the possible cause, we'll recommend the best way to repair it. Below are 5 common signs of a slab leak. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, feel free to give Branch Brothers Plumbing a call, so we can begin the task of locating and repairing the leak.
THE 5 MOST COMMON SIGNS OF A SLAB LEAK
1. HEARING WATER RUNNING
If you are hearing water running underneath the slab or at the base of your homes flooring. If you are able to hear the sound of running water in a certain location of your home when there are no faucets running, this can be strong indication that there could be a slab leak under your homes foundation.
2. NOTICE MILDEW OR WET FLOORS
If you are noticing signs of mildew, wet carpet or wet floors, that are continuing to stay wet or pooling up then there is a high probability that the pipes below your slab could be leaking.
3. CRACKED FOUNDATION OR WALL
Cracks in your foundation or in your walls can also indicate you have a leak below the foundation. A leak under the slab can overtime time wash out the dirt foundation. This can cause your slab to crack and shift, also creating cracks or breaks in the walls causing them to shift and weaken.
4. HIGHER WATER BILL
Another indication of a slab leak is when your water bill starts running higher than usual. If your water bill surprisingly increases while your level of consumption remains the same, you could possibly have a slab leak and need to have it looked at as soon as possible.
5. HOT SPOT ON FLOORS
One of the biggest signs of slab leak is, if your floor is staying hot or warm in certain areas. This may be because of a leak in the hot water pipe under the slab. The leaking hot water could be causing the floor to stay warm and should be addressed quickly to keep the damage from getting worse.
If you notice any one of the 5 signs listed above, a slab leak may be the diagnosis. If you suspect you have a leaking water pipe under your homes foundation, do yourself a favor and have it looked at by a professional. By fixing the leak as soon as possible you can save yourself thousands of dollars, and a lot of headache. Please don't hesitate, give Branch Brothers Plumbing a call today. We will gladly begin with a free estimate from one of our plumbing professionals. Included, will be a detection of your leaks location, with a strategy to properly fix the leak in a cost effective and timely manor.
Your bathtub can be one of the best features of your bathroom, but it can also be the biggest eye sore. People ask all the time about knowing when it’s time to change out their existing bathtubs and install a new one. Here are few things to consider if you are thinking about changing out your old tub.
Stains: Most surface stains are extremely hard to remove, even with the strongest cleaning chemicals available. Older bathtubs with stubborn stains are more likely to collect bacteria, mildew, and mold, so if you’re unable to get rid of spots, it’s better to opt for a fresh, new fixture.
Old Age: If your tub looks dated compared to the other fixtures in your bathroom, a replacement bathtub is a perfect solution. Not only will you be able to enjoy a fresher, more modern amenity, but it will also help increase the resale value of your home by updating the overall aesthetic of the room.
Mold: When mold and mildew are present in your tub, spores will continue to circulate and re-colonize even after you’ve cleaned the surface. Starting fresh with a replacement bathtub eliminates the frustration caused by unsightly, unhealthy fungus. Additionally, many newer bathtubs are equipped with safe, effective coatings that discourage mildew growth.
If you are looking to change out your old bathtub, please feel free to contact Branch Brothers Plumbing. We can assist with a free estimate and the different options of choosing the right tub and fixtures.
Here are the top signs that it may be time to replace your water heater:
Leaking Water Heater
No matter how new or old your water heater, leaks are not something to play around with. Slow leaks can go unnoticed until they cause major structural damage to your home, and sudden, major leaks can unleash thousands of gallons of water in a matter of hours. Signs of impending leaks include developing corrosion, moisture or mold around the base of the water heater or the pipes leading to it. While it may be tempting to patch up an ailing unit, replacement is usually the better course of action.
Water Heater Age and Usage
If your water heater is over ten years old and gets regular use, it’s already reached its life expectancy. Once your warranty expires, it’s a good idea to either proactively replace your hot water heater or step up your inspection schedule. You’ll want to check for leaks, flush the tank to get rid of any sediment build-up, and check the condition of the anode rod (which protects the tank from rust) at least twice a year. And if you have no idea how old your hot water heater is...it’s probably time to replace your hot water heater.
Water Temperature Issues
If your hot water heater is producing only lukewarm water, producing hot water in ever-diminishing quantities, or taking a long time to heat water, its heating element or burner may be failing due to age or sediment build-up. Heating elements and burners can be replaced, but this may or may not be worth it, depending on the age of your tank.
Metallic Taste or Visible Rust
Hot water that smells or tastes like iron, or that has a reddish-brown tinge, indicates that your water heater’s inner tank is corroding. Once this process starts, it’s nearly impossible to reverse.
Steady Stream of Repairs
If you’ve already made several repairs to your hot water heater, and new issues keep cropping up on a regular basis, it may be time to consider replacing it. Several minor issues over the course of 12 to 18 months can indicate that major failure is likely in the near future.
Water damage from malfunctioning hot water heaters is one of the two top sources of water-based insurance claims. Regular maintenance and timely replacement can help keep your hot water heater from causing major headaches for you and your household.