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Pipes in older homes more at risk in bitter cold | News

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Pipes in older homes more at risk in bitter cold

ATLANTA -- In many places, not even the sun will push temperatures above freezing Friday.

And for established neighborhoods with older homes, that's going to mean a visit from a plumber.

"I don't want to call them basements because they're really not," said plumber Melvin Davis as he descended the stairs into one such home. "They're like partial basement-crawl spaces. They just have a lot of old exposed piping; copper mixed with galvanized, PVC, CPVC. You name it it's in there."

We've been following Davis around for days now through Atlanta's in-town communities. He says these older homes are not designed to deal with the deep freeze. And they've have been hit hard.

"That inch and a quarter pipe ran off into that irrigated (pipe) and just ran off into the ground, so it froze and it flooded their whole basement." Davis uses his flashlight to point out the damage of a recent basement flood. "There was water up to... well, you can see the water line on this fan. These check valves that hold water between here and where it ejects to the outside of the house has been freezing up all over."

Davis says older homes have peculiar issues that newer homes don't have, like drafty crawl spaces and patchwork piping.

"The galvanized (piping) can be a nightmare," he said. "A lot of the plumbers I know won't touch it; they have to change it out."

Typical homeowners can run the water and keep cabinets open to get warm air to their pipes. But for older homes, Davis says you should go even further.

"At this point, it's been so cold for so long, I think people know their problem areas. The best thing to do if you haven't addressed them is to cut that water off man."  


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