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Thawing Frozen Pipes – Part Four

Frozen pipes are never good news, but not an uncommon issue for home and business owners alike. If the frozen pipe is under a sink, and thus easy to access, thawing it yourself may be very feasible option. However, if your frozen pipe is enclosed or behind a wall, it creates a more challenging situation. If this is the type of issue you are facing, below you’ll find a few options to help alleviate the issue.

Turn Up Your Thermostat. While it’s not 100% guaranteed, turning up the temperature in the home or building is a viable option. Be prepared for this to be a slow process.

Use an Infrared Lamp. If you know where in the wall the frozen pipe is located, you can attempt to thaw the blockage by placing an infrared lamp in front of the portion of the wall where the pipe is located. The heat from the lamp may be able to penetrate the wall and allow the pipe to defrost.

Cut Open the Wall. Though it’s a last resort, it’s sometimes a necessary one. To get to the frozen pipe, you’ll need to assess the location of the frozen pipe as precisely as possible and then mark the location to open. Then, using drywall tools, cut the wall open so that you can use one of the above methods to thaw your frozen pipes.

Call a Professional. If you are uncomfortable with or unable to thaw your frozen pipes, you should always call a professional. They are trained in handling these issues and can not only assess the situation, but handle any other related issues that may occur.

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 Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thawing Frozen Pipes – Part Three

During the winter months in North Carolina, it’s not uncommon to experience several days of sub-freezing temperatures. This winter, the Piedmont Triad has experienced some of its most brutal cold weather in years. Consequently, many Triad residents have faced the dreaded issue of having their pipes freeze.

While frozen pipes do burst, if you can thaw them before the pressure builds and cracks the pipe, you may be able to save yourself a significant amount of grief. If you are not comfortable thawing the pipes, please call a professional to help you do so. However, if you feel good about your ability to do so, get your pen and paper ready. Below you’ll find four ways to thaw your frozen pipes.

Before you begin, please read these previous posts to make sure you have prepared and have taken the appropriate safety precautions. In addition, before you being thawing the pipe, make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is. If the pipe begins to burst, shut off the main water supply immediately to limit the amount of damage to your home.

To thaw accessible frozen pipes:

(Whichever method you choose, make sure to continue to apply the heat until the water from your faucet returns to full force.)

Use a Hair Dryer. This is an oldie but a goodie. Grab your hair dryer, turn it on high heat and point it at the area closest to the faucet and slowly move down the pipe.

Use a Heat Lamp or Portable Space Heater. If you own a one of these devices, you’re in luck. This is one of the fastest ways to thaw a frozen pipe. Simply move the heat lamp or space heater to a spot close enough to the pipe for the heat to reach the frozen area.

Use a Hot Towels. Though this is a slower process, placing hot towels around the frozen pipe can still be effective. Simply run a hot bath or shower and wet your towels with the steamy water. Then wrap the towels around the frozen pipe.

Use Electrical Heating Tape. Last but not least, electrical heating tape which can be purchased from your local hardware store is an excellent option. Simply attach the electrical heating tape to the frozen pipe, and the tape will distribute heat along the pipe.

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 Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

 

 

Thawing Frozen Pipes – Getting Started

 

With consistent freezing temperatures comes the potential for frozen pipes. While there are ways to help prevent frozen pipes, they are not a 100 percent guarantee. Consequently, you may have to thaw pipes at some point. To ensure you thaw them properly, following a specific process is critical to your success. To help, we’ve put together a few tips to get you started:

Step One: Find the Frozen Pipe

It can feel a bit like a game of hide and seek, but in order to thaw the pipes, you have to locate the frozen ones. The easiest way to do this is to turn on each faucet in your home separately. If no water runs from the faucet, or if it’s just a slight trickle, one of the pipes feeding into that faucet is frozen.

If the frozen pipe is in an exposed area such as in your basement or under your sink, you can easily access these pipes to begin thawing them. If the frozen pipes are behind a wall, your options are more limited. (We will discuss them in a later post.)

Step Two: Open the Correlating Faucet

Once you have determined the location of the frozen pipe, you’ll need to open the faucets (both hot and cold) that feed that pipe slowly. Doing this will help to release the pressure in the pipe and allow the water to flow freely once the thawing begins.

Step Three: Determine Where to Begin Thawing the Pipe

To thaw the pipe safely, begin the thawing process close to the faucet. This way, as the ice melts, it will relieve the pressure and the water and steam can vent through the faucet. If you begin thawing closer to the blockage, the water can become stuck behind it, creating more pressure and increasing the likelihood of  a burst pipe.

Now you’re ready to complete the thawing process. In the next post, we will guide you through that process.

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 Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

 

 

 

Thawing Frozen Pipes – The Risks


Although warm weather has provided a brief respite from freezing temperatures, they are back with a vengeance. Consequently, so is the likelihood of frozen pipes. In earlier posts, you can find tips to how to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Unfortunately though, there is not a way to guarantee that you will never have frozen pipes, regardless of the precautions you take.

That’s why understanding how to thaw pipes is an important and helpful skill to have. But before you get started, it’s important to know that there are risks involved:

Starting a Fire. Because most methods to thaw pipes involve a heat source, if the process is not managed using caution, the possibility of an accidental fire is real.

Potential Electrocution. Often, the means to thaw pipes involves electrical appliances that are plugged in to an outlet. So, if you are thawing the pipes in the manner, remember that electricity and water can create a dangerous situation instantaneously if a pipe does burst. Because of this, it’s critical to plan carefully to avoid this possibility.

Bursting a Pipe. If frozen pipes are not thawed correctly, the pipes can and will burst. You’ll not only have a mess on your hands but a potentially dangerous situation that can cause significant harm to your home.

If you decide to thaw the pipes yourself, then Part Two of this series will explain the safest ways to do this. But if you would prefer to call a professional, make sure that they are insured and bonded. Though they may cost you more upfront, if anything goes wrong, it can literally save you thousands of dollars.

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Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

 

 

 

 

URGENT INFO: Frozen Pipes – Part Two

Below freezing temperatures are here and it doesn’t look like they are leaving anytime soon. This week, Go Green Plumbing has received hundreds of calls from all over the Triad to repair frozen pipes. While there is no guarantee that you can protect pipes 100 percent, there are definitely things that you can do to help. To that end, Go Green Plumbing has put together a few practical tips to help you protect your pipes as best as possible.

  • Leave cabinet doors that have any plumbing in them open.
  • Leave all bathroom doors open.
  • If you have a well, make sure there is pipe insulation wrapped around the pipes to the well head, even if it’s under an insulated rock. If you do not have or cannot get pipe insulation, use blankets for now and insulate later.
  • If you have very poorly insulated walls and pipes that are on the exterior, or if the kitchen sink or shower valve is on outside wall, place a space heater pointing at those areas. If you do not have a space heater, set your alarm to wake up at least every three hours to run the water in those fixtures until the water runs hot.
  • Make sure that all hoses are disconnected from your house.
  • If you wake up and have frozen pipes, turn on the fixture farthest away from the water heater.
  • Washing machine hoses and ice maker hose freeze often. Turning off the valve to those hoses while the weather is freezing can prevent a hose from bursting.

If you do need a plumber, make sure you read reviews and make sure they are reputable. Check Google, BBB, Yelp and Facebook. Make sure they are insured, licensed, bonded, etc. Yes, this will cost you more upfront, but it will save you thousands in the long run. Unfortunately, in a crisis, there are many people willing to take advantage of others at a time of need.

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Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

 

 

URGENT INFO: Preventing Frozen Pipes – Part One

With below freezing temperatures continuing in the Triad, it’s critical that you as a homeowner know how to protect your pipes from freezing as best as possible. Just this week, Go Green Plumbing has received hundreds of calls reporting frozen pipes and while we are doing our best to get to everyone, with that number of people, the challenge is real.

While there is no foolproof plan to guard against frozen pipes, it’s important you understand what you are fighting against.

The most dangerous issue with frozen pipes is not that they are frozen, it is that they will eventually thaw, and you, as a homeowner, won’t know if the until it’s too late if the expansion from the freezing has cracked a pipe. As soon as it starts flowing again, you could have a flood. And most homeowners dont have flood insurance.

This issue is especially common if you have galvanized or copper pipes. These types of pipes are more likely to freeze than a plastic PEX Pipe.

If many of your pipes run on exterior walls, or your pipes are in a crawl space or uninsulated basement or garage area, leave all faucets dripping for the night, and set an alarm and wake up at least every three hours to run the water in those fixtures until the water runs hot.

While it may be difficult to do for this specific cold spell, to pre-empt these issues, you can install heat trace wire on wells and water heaters, or fixtures that run along exterior walls. You can also add insulation to pipes on crawl spaces, basements and garages. When the weather warms up, you may want to consider making these changes or have a plumber take care of it for you.

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Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

 

 

Everyday Wisdom From Your Plumber – Part Two

Go Green Plumbing, Greensboro, NCWish you could have prevented that plumbing issue that created thousands of dollars of damage? Sure you do. And do you know where to find that information? It’s as easy as calling your plumber. To get you started, below you’ll find a few nuggets of wisdom from your technicians at Go Green Plumbing.

If you are using a septic tank, know that it must be emptied periodically. This is an issue that can cause unnecessary headaches and very real problems. If your septic tank is full, inevitably your plumbing system will back up and it won’t be pretty – or inexpensive.

Identifying and using a good bacteria and enzyme product on your septic system is a wise investment. The bacteria and enzymes will work to break down the waste in the septic, helping to alleviate any back up issues that may begin otherwise.  There are a few different brands, but one that Go Green Plumbing recommends is BioClean.

Limit your use of bleach if you are on a septic system. Though you’re using the Clorox in your home for cleaning, when it’s flushed or washed down the sink, it can kill the good bacteria that is working to break down the waste in your septic tank.

Have your water tested periodically. Heavy levels of sediment and minerals can damage fixtures internally and externally and will shorten the lifespan of their system. If you have a high level of sediment or minerals in your water supply, consider a water purifier for your home.

Washing machine hoses are the number one cause of home flooding. Checking, replacing, making sure they have braided stainless steel hoses instead of plastic hoses can save you several thousands of dollars in the long run.

Always disconnect outdoor hoses from hose bibs when you expect freezing temperatures. In addition, always cover the outdoor faucet for temperatures below 32 degrees.  If you don’t do this, the frozen water in hoses and faucets can create the perfect storm causing water lines to burst.

Turn off your water at the main valve when you are on vacation. By doing this, you’re preventing major damage to your home in the event of a water leak or burst pipe.

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 Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!Go Green Plumbing, Greensboro, NC

Everyday Wisdom from your Plumber – Part One

 

Go Green Plumbing, Greensboro, NCMost people only talk to their plumber when there is a problem that needs fixing. But few take advantage of the wealth of knowledge he or she can provide regarding how to prevent those very issues before they start. To that end, below you’ll find several nuggets of wisdom from Go Green Plumbers to help make sure you’re doing what is best for your plumbing system and your home .

EVERYONE in your home should know where the main shut off valve is located. If there is a leak, or a pipe bursts, the first thing you need to do to minimize damage to your home is to turn of the water. This can be critically important to protecting your home.

Never, ever, ever flush “flushable wipes” … or any wipe other than toilet tissue for that matter. They will clog your toilet-even though their marketing information says otherwise-causing you expensive plumbing repairs. Toilet tissue is the only tissue that should be flushed.

The cost of a yearly plumbing inspection can be worth its weight in gold. These annual check-ups for your plumbing system are equivalent to your annual physical. An inspection is the perfect opportunity to find issues that could grow into bigger, more costly problems, ultimately saving you time, frustration – and money.

A water heater is only meant to last a certain number of years, it will not last forever. After the manufacturer’s “life expectancy” has been reached, it’s reasonable to expect expensive issues to arise. Thus, purchasing a new water heater in a timely manner is often the more economical choice if you begin running into larger repair expenses.

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Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

Protect Your Pipes

Protecting your pipes from freezing this winter is no small matter. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, from 2005-2015, total claims for damage due to frozen pipes exceeded four billion dollars. The good news though is that frozen and burst pipes can be prevented with some regular maintenance and preventive action.

Keep in mind that your goal is to keep your home warm and thus your pipes warm, using your heating system supported by good insulation. This is yet another reason to have your HVAC checked each fall to make sure it’s in top shape. Also, each year about this time, take a walk around your home to determine what areas need the most attention, be it more insulation or a little extra insulation around pipes.

Keep your garage doors closed, especially if you have access to water lines in your garage.

If you expect a hard freeze, let your faucets drip and open lower cabinet doors to let the heat in under your sink to keep those pipes warmer.

Wrap exposed or vulnerable piping with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves that you can purchase at your local hardware store. Remember: any piping that runs through unheated areas like attics or basements are especially vulnerable to freezing.

Drain and disconnect hoses from outdoor faucets and store them for the winter. Next, wrap the outdoor faucets with foam or fiberglass sleeves. If you don’t have either of these on hand, grab an old t-shirt or towel, wrap it around the faucet, cover with a plastic Ziploc bag and duct tape it closed around the base of the faucet.

If you are going out of town and you expect temperatures to dip below freezing while you’re gone, turn off the water to your home and open all faucets to drain.

Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night.

If you do find yourself in the position of dealing with frozen and/or burst pipes, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we will send one of our expert plumbing technicians over as soon as possible.

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Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

 

 

 

 

Taking Care of Our Feathered Friends This Winter

One of the joys of winter for many people is feeding birds who visit their yard searching for treats amidst the cold landscape. Maybe you’re one of those bird lovers? If so, colder temperatures may have you thinking about them. Although birds are made to adjust to colder weather, there are things you can do to make it easier for them.

Provide nutritious food. Pick a premium blend high in black oil sunflower seeds and nuts.  Other high fat foods like suet, meat scraps and peanut butter are also good. Keep in mind that different birds feed differently, so provide hanging feeders for smaller birds, and spread a mixed blend of seeds and nuts on the ground for ground feeders. Just do this near bushes or under a deck to protect from predators.

Add additional feeders and birdhouses. Winter months can make it hard to find their own food, so having more feeders can help. Choose feeders that keep seed dry to prevent fungal and bacterial growth. Birdhouses give them a place to roost. Placing dry grass or wood shavings inside will help keep them warm.

Don’t forget water. Check and refill it daily. Adding several rocks to the water container will give them a place to land. To avoid problems with sometimes not-so-adorable four-legged animals (i.e., squirrels, chipmunks, etc.), place food out for them too. Just locate their food a distance away from your bird feeders. They love nut blends, corn, and especially nuts in the shells.

While you are working hard to stay warm and healthy this winter, try to remember your feathered and furry friends as well. They will love you for it!

Have more questions? Call us – we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!