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HOUSTON Houstonians have lots of questions on how to handle their pipes during the freeze, and a representative from one of the oldest plumbing companies in the city is giving answers.

Clayton Lee Plumbing has been around since 1911.Jason Tuma is the owner and a Master Plumber and he said he s seen it all.In fact, he said one of the worst extended freezes in recent history happened in 1989.

I worked with a crew of men and I had the record with 64 leaks in one house, he said.

Tuma said pipes break during a hard freeze, but you may not know you have a problem until later.

Once the thawing process begins is when the problems start, he explained.

What is one early indication? If you wake up with no running water.

If you don t have any water, go ahead and turn the city main off and it will take the pressure off the system, and then open up the outside hose bibs at your home or inside. Once the thawing process begins it will give it a vent or an area to go to, he explained.

Tuma says a few people have already called him.

We ve had several customers call already with frozen pipes. We were able to thaw one lady s out. The other one we were able to fix it. It was just a busted valve.

While many people took precautions to protect their inside pipes, they neglected to cover the sprinkler system outside.That little problem can translate into big bucks.

What it is a vacuum breaker? When the water shuts off, it lets air in there and what happens is the pressure point- it just pops. The top blows off, Tuma explained.

It can cost around $200 to repair.

Tuma said if you haven t taken any precautions yet, just turn your faucet on and let it drip.

After all, this is Houston and Jack Frost usually doesn t stay long.
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