Thaw exposes expensive problems for some North Shore homeowners

Thaw exposes expensive problems for some North Shore homeowners
Updated: Jan. 19, 2018 at 4:48 PM CST
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MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - Temperatures rose into the mid-50s across the North Shore Friday, and while many enjoyed the warmth, others experienced big problems.

From ruined ceilings, to torn-up landscapes, ruptured pipes posed major challenges. With temperatures rising higher than they have in three days, leaks sprung up, spraying water into places that weren't built to take it. And with plumbers reporting 60-call backups,some took matters into their own hands.

Jake Smith returned from a business trip Thursday and found water spewing from his standpipe and flooding his neighbors landscaping.

"It ran for about 24 hours before we caught it, and it came down here and flooded this house," said Smith.

Smith went on YouTube to see how to fix the leak and returned from the plumbing store with what he thought would be the perfect fix. He bought a pipe cutter, some tapered replacement pipe, a torch and some solder, and he set out to repair the pipe. Total price tag: $92.

"Worst case scenario, I call the plumber," said Smith.

But as he worked on the ruptured pipe, he discovered a new problem - a sub-surface crack that had succumbed to temperatures that reached the low teens.

"We got another leak," said Smith, as water bubbled up from about 4 inches beneath the surface.

He is by no means alone.

"I got home at 8:30 last night, and all hell was breaking loose from the ceiling," said Joe Radosti,

Over in Ponchatoula, Radosti had a pipe freeze in his attic, causing what he believes will be nearly $20,000 worth of damage to the ceiling and walls.

"The whole counters have got to come out and the sheetrock up to 8 inches," he said.

And in Mandeville, one resident said her bathtub cracked due to the freeze, blaming an iron access panel nearby on the north side of her home.

Jake Smith said he believes his pipes were vulnerable due to old, insufficient insulation. Meantime, he's determined to fix the problem himself.

"Once that solder hardens, it should be there forever, so we'll see," he said.

If it works, he said he will save hundreds of dollars.

Radosti said his big mistake was not running the hot water as well as the cold when the  temperature dipped. He said he'll never do that again, and he wants others to learn from his costly mistake.

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