BOISE -- Utility workers Stacy Stuart and Brandon Pew help homeowners find frozen pipes, hose connections, and water meters. This crew from United Water will tell if you if the problem is inside your home or outside at the connection with your water meter and a water main.
You can call United Water at 208-362-7304
"Right now we're just checking the stop," Pew told KTVB during a check on a water meter in Boise's north end on Monday. "The valve on the meter, making sure it will still turn. Generally, if it turns, it means it's not frozen."
Here on Sherman Street in Boise, Annie Heavran's indoor plumbing froze Sunday night. She tried to turn on her oven and put a space heater in the bathroom, but that didn't work. She called United Water and got a prompt response.
Stuart and Pew checked her water meter, outside hose connections, and used a blowtorch to ensure the meter was not frozen. Turns out the problem was inside Annie's home, and now she's got to call a plumber.
"I got to go find a place to take a shower," Heavran said, with obvious unhappiness. " ... I have to go to work tomorrow. No matter how bad I feel I have to go to work."
She's one of the many affected by the cold snap and frozen pipes. United Water is reporting more than 70 calls involving frozen pipes since Friday.
Spokesperson Mark Snider said it's their responsibility to fix the problem if it's outside, but your responsibility, otherwise.
"If it is a frozen meter, we will repair or replace it for free," Snider told KTVB. "If the problem is at the customer end, then we will advise them of tips they can do to thaw it out, or advise them to call a plumber."
PLUMBERS GIVE TIPS
A1 Plumbing in Boise says dozens of callers are reporting problems with frozen pipes in the Treasure valley. "We have so many phone calls we're booked out until tomorrow," said customer service specialist Kelly Loftis.
Does your home have problem pipes? We checked, and A1 Plumbing charges $149 just to diagnose the problem.
Make sure to try these simple fixes supplied by A1 before calling a plumber:
- You can use an an electric heat gun or hair dryer to warm frozen areas.
- If only one faucet in your home is frozen and not working, then the freeze is in the water supply to that faucet only.
- Try feeling the pipes running to that fixture. If one area is much colder than others, that's likely where the freeze is.
- If a pipe that's frozen is in a crawl space, you can put an indoor space heater in the crawl space to warm it.
- If you have a non-insulated soft water loop in your garage, that's often the location of a freeze that's affecting your home.
- Importantly, you should NEVER use an open flame or any large heater made for outdoor use inside or under your home to thaw frozen pipes. You can easily start a major fire this way.