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Houston Plumbing Tips

There are going to be a lot of broken pipes discovered in the thaw tomorrow. I wanted to share some information that could be helpful in getting your water back online. If your water is not working from being frozen and you have not shut off your water at the city main line, I would recommend doing that now so that if it defrosts in the morning, you don’t have water coming out of broken pipes when you don’t expect it.

Shut off city water main:

Shut off valve on house:

Here are a few common types of pipe:

PVC and CPVC (you can do this)

These are very common plastic pipes. PVC is rated for cold water lines. CPVC can be used for hot and cold water supply lines. This is pretty simple to fix. You need something to cut the pipe, primer, cement/glue, and the pipe.

Repair video:

Galvanized/Metal pipe (probably need to hire out)

Common in older homes. If it’s older than 30 years, it might be a good time to replace it. It’s hard to cut and work with, but is very durable.

Repair video:

Uponor PEX (you can do it if you borrow a tool)

This is the newest of the plumbing options. Comes with hot and cold lines. It’s bendable pipe that can expand dramatically when frozen. The pipe and fittings are actually not that much pricier than cpvc because you need fewer joints as again, the pipe can bend. Highly recommend this. The main downside is that is takes a special tool (PEX expander $300) to work with the pipe. It doesn’t require primer/glue and cutting it is a breeze. The plumbers I met often recommended Uponor PEX as vs other brands of PEX because the fittings are simpler and are less likely to leak.

Example video:


I have did plumbing on a few houses during my West Street days and wanted to share a little of what I saw. I am no expert, but I thought this might be a starting point for some folks.