Now that January is well underway and Cincinnati has had its first major snowfall of the year, it’s pretty safe to say winter is finally upon us — and it’s here to stay for a while. 

With the colder temps, new issues can arise when it comes to keeping our home’s plumbing, especially when it’s below freezing outside. That’s when pipes can freeze, and when they do, it has the potential of causing serious damage to your home if the pipe bursts. 

Not only could your walls and flooring get destroyed by broken, burst pipes, but the leaked water can create mold and mildew that can threaten your family’s health – including the health of your pets. 

Protect your home this winter from frozen pipes. Below are five signs to watch for to avoid a costly, serious home repair, tips on how to unfreeze pipes, and what to do in the event your pipes burst. 

Five signs you’ve got a frozen pipe    

There’s no water 

Let’s start with the obvious. If you turn on your faucet on a cold day and no water, or very little water, comes out of the faucet or tap, you’ve likely got a frozen pipe. Once you suspect a frozen pipe is the culprit, turn on every faucet slowly to see where the frozen pipe is located. If your home is older, be prepared for multiple frozen pipes once one has frozen. 

The temperature drops

You’ve got to have freezing temps for frozen pipes. Every homeowner, especially those with homes with older, more fragile plumbing, should be on the lookout for frozen pipes once it gets below 32 Farenheit outside. 

There’s frost on pipes 

Check any exposed pipes in your home including those in your basement or under your sinks. If there’s frost on them, there’s a good chance that it burst because water has accumulated outside of the pipe itself.  You should also check exposed pipes in the garage and in attics. Once you’ve detected a pipe with frost on the outside, shut off its water supply to avoid any additional damage. 

Damp walls and floors 

A frozen, leaking pipe can cause moisture in walls and on the floors. If you suspect a burst pipe in a wall, check for dampness or water stains. Also look for rings on the carpet, buckled laminate, warped wood, and water marks on the ceiling. 

Odd, foul smell 

When pipes get blocked due to freezing, your water supply can back up causing a bad smell from the faucets or drains. 

How to thaw a frozen pipe 

First, shut off the water to the section of plumbing that’s frozen. It’s also a good idea to have a bucket and mop handy in case, once the water thaws, it gushes where there’s a break. 

Recently, we stayed in an historic 1929 English Tudor manor lodge near Chagrin Falls, OH. The lobby had the usual showcase of lodge history, but what caught our eye were the 2 original shower heads on display. The vintage showerheads are truly works of skillfully cast brass fixture art and the ultimate in 1929 bathing grandeur. In the Gatsby-esque roaring twenties, homeowners were so excited about moving the outhouse into the main house that water conservation hadn’t yet become a “thing.”

Fast forward to today. Water conservation is one of the hottest topics on the globe.

Does a Shower Really Use a Lot of Water?
According to www.agreatshower.com, showerhead technology has improved so much that the days of “a great shower or a water-saving shower” are gone. With today’s shower head options, homeowners can help “save the environment and save up to $200 per year.” That’s a sizable savings, given that the average shower lasts about 8 minutes and over 30 gallons of water (with a full-flow shower head).

Will a Water Saver Shower Head Help Save Water & Money?
Actually, they do. A water saver (a.k.a. “low flow”) shower head can reduce water consumption by as much as 50%. For homeowners on municipal water systems, a water saver shower head can reduce shower water usage to less than 18 gallons per 8-minute shower.

How do Water Saver Shower Heads Work?
By using a combination of modern design techniques and improved engineering, 21st-century water saving shower heads deliver a the experience of a “full flow” shower while using half the amount of water. It’s pretty scientific, but it works.

Water You Waiting For?
Ray and his team of plumbing professionals can install modern low-flow/water saver shower heads in all your bathrooms. Call today for a free quote: (513) 396-5300. Discounts may apply. Visit our Coupons page for details.

We have a 20-something friend who believes she’s found the perfect starter home in an early 1980’s neighborhood. The home seller is a “flipper” (red flag #1).

The home inspection revealed that all the plumbing low-grade PVC (red flag #2). The home inspector broke the sad news that all the piping must be brought up to current code in order to obtain homeowner’s insurance (red flag #3). To re-pipe the entire house will cost at least $4000 over the $240,000 asking price (red flag #4).

Plumbing Matters – Inspect Before You Buy
When buying a home, inspections don’t cost, they pay. In order to avoid costly purchase mistakes, it’s a good idea to have the following inspections performed before making an offer on a home:

Plumbing — is it up to code and are the fixtures of good quality?
Wiring — is it up to code and suitable for your power needs?
Sewer lines — a video camera inspection can reveal underground damage, such a tree roots and cracked tiles

Additionally, always buy from a reputable seller. The popularity of ‘Flip-or-Flop’ TV shows has many DIY-ers in the home rehab business. Some do good work, others…no so much. Inexperienced home flippers may take shortcuts in order to achieve their profit margins.

Water You Waiting For? If you’ve found your dream home (or are thinking of selling your current home), purchase a whole-home inspection that addresses piping, drains, wiring, and foundation. The professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter are available to assist with bringing your home plumbing up to code. A good inspection can prevent surprises for everyone involved. Call today – 513-396-5300.

Customer: I am on City water and sewer. Is there a way to lower my rising utility bill?

Ray: First, understand how water charges are calculated. The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) bills sewage for single family and duplex homes according to the volume of water used during the winter billing period (the billing period that ends with the meter reading in February, March, or April). During the rest of the year, if you use more water than during the winter period, you will only be billed sewage up to the amount used in the winter period. Why? Because water used during the winter period accounts for most of your annual sewage use. Much less “summer water” goes into the sewer than “winter water.”

Do the math: During the MSD winter billing period, every 1 gallon used during the winter period amounts to 4 gallons in annual sewage costs. The easiest way to lower your annual water is to aggressively conserve water NOW, until the end of March. Fix leaky faucets, flush only when necessary, avoid running the tap while shaving, brushing, or doing dishes.

Water You Waiting For? Call Ray today (513-396-5300) if you have plumbing problems or questions. Ray and his team of professionals are available 24/7 to get your plumbing back in order. Visit our Deals! page for money-saving coupons: http://alliedreddirooter.com/deals