You never really know how residents will react when something goes awry in one of your properties. This morning, I received a panicked phone call from a resident in one of my duplexes. A pipe had frozen and there was no water in their unit.
There is not too much to do to fix a frozen pipe except to either try to thaw the pipe or wait for the pipe to thaw. Obviously once the pipe has thawed, you need to be ready in case there is a pipe burst. I advised my residents to move a space heater into the basement and call if there is a problem as it warms up. Well, about two hours after that phone call, I got another phone call: “Hey, uhh, I got a swimming pool in my basement.”
The first thought through my head was: man, that didn’t take long to thaw. Thought number 2: this is going to cost a TON; thought 3: I’m going to have to
run down and fix the pipes this evening…there goes my Friday night call a local plumber and get this taken care of immediately. I also asked a contractor friend of mine to take 12 gallons of water (six gallons per unit) to the duplex until this got resolved.
I called RotoRooter to see if they handled burst pipes. Luckily, they do handle these issues and they try to ensure a less than 24-hour turn around. The pipe burst at about 3pm, RotoRooter was called at about 3.45 and by 5.30pm they were on site working on the pipe. By 7pm I had received a phone call that the problem had been addressed.
There were three bursts, two in a pipe and one that broke the back side of the water meter. I now have a new water meter, some new pipe and (hopefully) a happy resident.
Through the course of this, I learned that the water had actually been frozen for a full 24 hours before anyone decided to call me. No idea why no one decided to call. I asked what they had been doing for water for the previous 24 hours (figuring they had purchased bottled water). The reply: Melting snow on the stove. I told both residents to call as soon as there is a problem like this in the future and not wait 24 hours.
Anyway, for 18 months as a landlord and one issue like this, not too bad.