I am a complete and total idiot.
My husband, toddler and I split our time between a condo and an old
house in two Northeastern cities. I stayed overnight in the house alone
last week and when I left I turned the heat completely off. Which upon
reflection is a completely moronic thing to do but I thought that's
what my husband had said to do (in fact he had said "turn it down").
At any rate I am back here alone again and discovered a pipe burst in
the second-floor bathroom, causing water to seep through the floor,
down into the bedroom on the first floor, and into the basement.
I turned the water off, put buckets all around and have spent the last
several hours trying to clean up the mess. The ceiling damage doesn't
appear to be too bad but I guess appearances can be deceiving. My
husband says we can't turn on the water now until it thaws outside,
probably in the spring.
I feel so stupid (rightfully so) and I'm pretty sure my husband wants a
divorce. All I can say is that I thought I was following his
instructions and that I'm originally from the West coast where freezing
pipes were never an issue.
What can I do to find out if other pipes are about to burst open and/or
help the situation in any way????
You have done all you can.
(Except telling your husband to chill out, mistakes happen.)
Call your insurance co, and then call a plumber. He's dead wrong about
having to wait till Spring.
(If what he said were true, half the people in your city would be
without water right now. - Believe me, LOTS AND LOTS of people do what
Thanks, Matt -
Why is he wrong about having to wait until spring? Couldn't other pipes
be frozen and ready to burst now that the heat is back on and if that
happened even greater damage might occur?
Also, I turned on the taps all over the house and not too much water
came out of any of them. Is there any chance that could be because they
haven't had much use in a while? (It's probably more likely that
they're frozen, right?) What a mess!
Yes, other pipes *could* be frozen, but if you had to wait till spring
to find em..... well, like I say, LOTS of people would be without
Keep the main water supply off, turn the heat on. This should thaw any
remaining freezing, and will allow the plumber to locate them.
Other than that, I would say find the lowest valve in your house, and
open it up, so that all the water in the system has a place to drain.
Also, open a faucet somewhere else in the house, to provide a vent for
the pipes. (Think of it like punching 2 holes in the top of a fruit
As far as not much water coming out of the faucets you have turned on,
it's hard to say. The good news is that I would bet you have at most 1
to 4 "burst" spots that will actually need to be repaired. Once one of
them freezes and bursts, there is a good chance that the pressure is
relieved on the rest of the system.
Get the heat going, keep the water off, call the plumber!
(And tell the husband to CHILL).
Best of luck,
Also, ask your hubby who he would be mad at if the power had gone out,
instead of you doing what he asked you to do.
Tell him to quit bitching at you and to get his lazy ass over there to
help you clean up the mess and watch the kid.
Don't feel so badly. It's really no big deal; a plumber will get you
squared away in a few hours.
My husband is the one taking care of our son in another city while I
finish my degree. It's a 3-hour drive and the roads are icy so it's not
safe for him to drive. And the heat isn't electric - we have the old
radiators that fill with water.
Then the radiators are another thing to have checked for leaks.
Not to worry you, but you really should get a plumber; some of the pipes
are no doubt within walls and if there is a leak there he will have to
open up the walls. I know most homeowners' insurance won't cover the
cost of the plumber, but will cover the cost of repairing damage done by
the water, and the plumber. Also, some of the damage done by the water
won't be apparent at first, like weakened plaster.
SPAMBLOCK NOTICE! To reply to me, delete the h from apkh.net, if it is
This can be a very difficult situation.
Let me tell you how we have handled a case like this in the past:
Locate a shut off valve that controls the pipe that burst.
Close that. (Or repair the burst pipe.)
Drain all other piping (assumes that house has been warmed up again.)
Connect an air compressor to the service main somewhere in order
to pressurize all the piping in the house.
Once pressurized, shut off compressor and watch pressure gauge
to check for leaks. If there *are* still leaks, go around and
listen for them to locate.
This procedure prevents more damage than if the water were simply
turned back on to "see if there are any more leaks".
No disrespect, but are you serious? You think she has an air compressor
laying around idle? Does the OP sound like a person who has the tools
and exp. to repair burst piping?
HINT: (If she did, do you think she would be asking for help on what
the first step is in a public newsgroup?)
Have the main turned off at the house or street till it thawes inside.
Yes an air compressor is a good idea, the ins co will pay for it if you
explain the option of a free water test- leaks. Tell your hubby to chill
a power failure would do the same if not worse damage. It can be fixed
But for the future why would anyone leave their water on when they
leave??? Pipes break Without FREEZING , Your Hubby missed that one
Small item!!, Sh:^ Happens....It aint your fault babe.
OK, there seems to be some big blockage in the stack from the toilet on
the second floor. When it is flushed it all backs up in the tub and
toilet and spills out the ceiling of the first floor. No broken pipe is
apparent anywhere. My husband has tried pouring boiling water down the
bowl, and many things to try to thaw the pipe. If we found non-toxic
antifreeze and poured that in could it help?
Speedy Jim wrote:
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