Lessons Learned From A Plumbing-Related Fire

There are a lot of reasons not to attempt to fix plumbing problems you. Among those reasons are fixing it wrong and making the problem worse, or putting yourself in a dangerous situation. The following news story is a good example of how badly things can go wrong when a homeowner attempts to make plumbing repairs.

In Dale City, Virginia, the Prince William County Fire Department responded to a call about a townhome fire. Flames were seen coming from the front of the home. A neighbor heard the smoke alarm and saw smoke coming from the roof. The Fire Marshall said that the homeowner had been soldering some pipe and then left the house to run an errand.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire and no one was hurt, though two adults were displaced. The damages were estimated to be at a whopping $10,000.

The article doesn’t specifically state how the fire started, but it’s safe to assume the soldering played a direct role. Soldering is used to attach two copper pipes together. This requires the use of a propane torch, solder and other materials. If proper safety precautions aren’t taken, the risk of personal injury (a serious burn) or a fire is very high. Remember, the areas around most pipes that run through a house are in the wall, next to wood and drywall. Given the intense heat involved in soldering, it doesn’t take much to ignite an accidental fire.

If you are going to attempt your own plumbing repairs, follow these rules:

  1. Only perform repairs you know you’re capable of and have the right equipment for. If you’re unsure, hire a plumber to make the repairs for you, or have someone more experienced with plumbing show you how to do it.
  1. Always turn the water off. This should be common sense, but even small repairs can turn into a big problem when water starts gushing out of an open pipe. Turning the water off is easy to do and will prevent such disasters from happening.
  1. Be extra cautious when soldering. Wear fire resistant clothing, including heavy leather gloves and safety goggles. Use fireproof cloth to cover any flammable surface (i.e. the dry brittle wood right next to the pipe). Have a fire extinguisher ready. And don’t leave the area until you’re absolutely sure everything has cooled down and is no longer a fire hazard.
  1. Know when to call a professional. Seriously, some repairs are just too complicated/dangerous for the average homeowner. Hiring a plumbing might cost you more than doing it yourself, but you’ll save money by having it done right and safely. Even a clogged drain can be a sign of a bigger problem.

Call us for all your plumbing needs

Whether you need the plumbing in your entire house redone, or have a leaky pipe you can’t fix, call us today and we’ll save you a lot of time and hassle. Our plumbers are fully licensed, experienced and professional, so you know the work they do will be quality. No problem is too small or too big for us to handle.

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