MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The forecast calls for severe drops in temperatures this upcoming Thursday. The temperatures will plummet to the coldest readings so far this season.
Greg Smith and Trey Gardner, both plumbers and managers of Roto-Rooter in Mobile, say the extreme drop in air temperature could cause water pipes in houses, buildings, or other dwellings to freeze. The frozen water inside the pipes could burst, causing hundreds of dollars of damage.
They said houses “off the ground” would be most affected by the issue. “Off the ground” meaning the water pipes are exposed and not under the ground of the house.
Both plumbers said it is important to turn off the water to your house and to remember to drain out your pipes to relieve them of any pressure. They said if your pipes end up bursting being frozen, they cannot be fixed until the pipes thaw out.
Gardner said that the last time this happened, they received more calls than people to service everyone.
“So the last time it happened, the phone’s ringing nonstop for I would say two to three days,” said Gardner. “Hundreds of people call in with hundreds of busted water lines. And we get to where we can. We have 40 or 50 employees, and we do the best we can to service everybody that we can.”
Smith explains how to turn off the water to your home with a pair of tools easily obtainable from your local hardware store:
“We have dug this water meter up; this valve is always going to be on the street side, because this is the meter right here, that shows how much water is you use per month. So it’s in between the meter in the street and the meter box. Then there’s your valve right there. It’s called a curb stop or valve to us. And then if you want to turn your water off, see it’s in line right now. I’m going to turn it that way. And now that not perfect yet perfect right there. So that valve is against the pipe. And that means water is not flowing through it. And you can test that by going up to the house and turning the hose bib on. And if there’s no water coming out of the hose bib, then you know you’ve correctly turned it off.”Greg Smith
Gardner explains once the water is turned off, go ahead and turn off any faucets like the one that attaches to your hose.
“Once the hose is off, you have the water shut off at the street,” Gardner explained as he’s getting any excess water out of the faucet. You want to just come here, turn your knob to the left and let the pressure off of it. It’ll eventually quit running water out of it because it’s off at the street.”
Gardner said to use your water this weekend in moderation.
“Most of the time, this weekend, your water will need to be shut off at night, it is going to be cold in the morning times,” said Gardner. “But if you could, if you could shut it off at night, and turn it back on the next morning, and do what you have to do, and then turn it back off, you’re gonna be good.”
Other ways to keep your pipes from bursting is to open up cabinets in your home and to keep your house above 55 degrees.
Gardner and Smith said if you plan to travel this holiday weekend to shut your water off.