7On your side: Protect your pipes and your wallet - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7On your side: Protect your pipes and your wallet

Since last week's freeze some people are already struggling with plumbing issues and it will no doubt only get worse over the next few days.

The chill is coming and time is running out to protect your exposed pipes and faucets.
Plumber Ricky Campbell demonstrates putting insulation on pipes such as this one.

"There's different thicknesses.  This insulation is made to go around 3/4 inch pipe.  I've already precut this insulation to fit around it.  There's several different types of tape you can use.  Duck tape works the best.  It's to keep any air from coming up in these areas that you've just insulated or where your seams or your insulation are."  

And if you can't get insulation he says newspaper works great too, though you'll want to completely cover the newspaper with tape to keep it as dry as possible.

It's also important to disconnect hoses from faucets.  

In this area, plumbers are anywhere from $85 to $110 and sometimes there's an overtime rate.  Campbell has these suggestions to avoid a huge bill you didn't expect.

"The more information you can give to me as a contractor the closer I can come to giving you an estimate over the phone or approximate of what this is going to entail.  There are things like sewer calls or cleaning out sewers that we don't do estimates.  But if it's something involved that we can't give you an approximate on the phone, then ask if we can come give you an estimate.  We give free estimates on things like changing out a water heater," said Campbell.

But not everybody does so check first.  And he says it's always wise to check with the Better Business Bureau and ask to see your plumber's license.

"For us to do plumbing work we have to carry our state plumbing license in our pocket.  If you're paying for a plumber, you deserve to get a plumber," said Campbell.

If you do have exposed pipes and drip them, Campbell says it really needs to be more of a steady stream.  And, if going into your crawl space be safe:

"You can get electrocuted, you can have severe cuts," said Campbell.

A good reason to consider carefully when you may need to hire a professional.

To hear more tips from Campbell look for the web extra where he discusses more safety tips and  ways to tell if you have a leak.

If you do have a leak the City of Lake Charles will give you a leak adjustment on your bill-- but only under certain circumstances.  See the details following this story.

Copyright 2013 KPLC All rights reserved

City of Lake Charles bill adjustment policy:

Jan 27, 2014, at 10:57 AM, "Sheila Nunez" <snunez@cityoflc.us> wrote:

If a customer has a leak in their plumbing the City of Lake Charles will do a leak adjustment, if the bill is more than 1 ½ times the customer average bill and it has been more than 12 months since their last leak adjustment.  To apply for a leak adjustment a customer must submit in writing a letter stating their name, address, account number, and when the leak was repaired.   The letter should be mailed to:

City of Lake Charles Water Division

Leak Adjustment

P O Box 1727

Lake Charles LA 70602

Letters can also be emailed to snunez@cityoflc.us

The account will be monitored and once the bill returns to normal a portion of the high bill will be credited off for leakage.  Customers must continue to pay on their water bill while they are waiting for a leak adjustment.  Leak adjustments can only be done once every 12 months on an account.


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