How to Keep Pipes from Freezing

by Tom Bolt on January 13th, 2018

As unusually cold weather plagues large parts of the country, homeowners from South Carolina to Michigan (and even Texas) are worried about frozen, busted pipes flooding their homes, causing thousand of dollars of damage.

“Water damage from busted, frozen pipes can be devastating in more ways than just the flooding,” says Jeff Dudan, CEO and founder of North Carolina-based remediation company AdvantaClean. “There can be structural damage, plus an immediate potential for deadly mold. A crack in a pipe no longer than the cuticle on your ring finger can dump hundreds of gallons of water into a home, creating more than one disaster.”

Home builders can help reassure their customers that their homes are safe with some strategies for keeping plumbing running during cold weather, says Dudan.

Here are the company's top tips to protect pipes:
• Remove hoses from outside faucets- if you leave hoses connected, with water still in them, there’s no place for water from the faucet, or water line to drain. The trapped water freezes and expands creating a crack in the line INSIDE the wall of your, spewing water everywhere. Wrap an insulated cover, towel, foam, or even newspaper around the faucet, cover in plastic, then tape to hold in place.
• Insulate exposed water lines - you can buy insulated sleeves from the hardware store which slip easily around exposed pipes in the garage, attic, basement, or outside. These areas are more susceptible to freezing.
• Seal leaks or cracks around pipes in the bathroom or kitchen-cold air can flood through the tiniest crevices. Insulate, or caulk around pipes to keep them from freezing
• Leave bathroom/kitchen cabinet doors open- this will allow warm room air to circulate around the pipes when icy weather invades. Also, let faucets drip to reduce pressure
• Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night when outdoor temperatures plummet

• Turn on all faucets to find out which ones are working- a small trickle of water from one faucet, while others are gushing, is a good indicator of a frozen line
• Work from the faucet, back, to check for ice blockage- run a hair dryer, or heat gun back and forth along the pipe, warming it gradually. Never put a heat source directly on the pipe, especially if it’s PVC. It could rupture the pipe. Never use an open flame.
• Pour a tablespoon of salt down the drain, but do not add water. The sudden temperature change could crack the pipe.
• Check for leaks-if you see any leaks, in any pipes, shut off the main water valve to the house, and close all faucets.

Could this be your chimney?

by Tom Bolt on March 5, 2015

Damage Cincinnati Chimney Repair

The problem is: How would you know? By code the chimney must be at least three feet higher than the ridge of your roof. Unfortunately you cannot see the top of your chimney-which is the most important part because the concrete cap keeps the water out. I was doing a routine roof inspection in Cincinnati and my customer had no idea that her REAL problem was the chimney.

Most standard brick chimneys have a poured concrete cap on top. This is what protects your entire chimney from bugs, animals and most importantly moisture. The average lifespan of a chimney cap is ten years before some maintenance is required. In Greater Cincinnati, the major cause of chimney cap failure is the FREEZE THAW cycle that we all have been experiencing since January.

What are the signs that your concrete cap may be letting moisture get into the chimney? Loose, flaking and missing bricks and mortar are all tell tale signs. Also moisture inside your fireplace or water spots on the ceiling around your chimney indicate that the problem is getting serious. The good news is that if you can catch the problem early enough you can save lots of money. Remedies for this situation can be as little as a few hundred dollars to over $5,000 if the entire chimney needs replacement down to the roof line.

Next week we are kicking off a FREE chimney and roof inspection for everyone who lives in greater Cincinnati. This offer will go for 30 days. It will start Monday March 9th and go through Saturday April 11th. Please call Construction Solutions Home Improvement at 513-746-9557 or just fill out the contact form.

One area of caution: Any time you have someone look at any part of your home that you cannot see-like a roof or chimney-Make sure the inspector shows you pictures of the damage. I was fortunate enough to help a very nice, retired single lady from Kenwood get out of a contract that she signed after being duped by some supposed "chimney experts". They showed her some pictures of a chimney that needed extensive work. The only problem was that it was not HER chimney.

When doing an inspection, Construction Solutions Home Improvement always take pictures of all potential issues with your roof and chimney. Afterward, we involve you in the process by giving you a problem free report or multiple remedies that fit your budget.

Call (513) 746-9557 or complete our contact form for a free chimney and roof inspection.

Water Pipe Freeze Protection - Cincinnati Weather Alert

by Tom Bolt on February 18, 2015

The Greater Cincinnati area has been hammered with snow and winter temperatures for the past few days and similar effects are being felt all over the country. Wind chill readings will be 10 to 20 degrees below zero for the next 48 hours and may drop to 25-35 below at certain times. Don't fall victim to a common winter threat. Prevent your water lines from freezing before having to spend money on expensive repairs for your home.

Take the following precautions for water lines on exterior walls:


If pipes do freeze, immediately shut off the main water valve into your home and call a plumber. Also, remember to NEVER use a flame on frozen water pipes.

Cost vs. Value - Home Remodeling

by Tom Bolt on February 9, 2015

30 years experience in the home improvement industry has taught me that when most customers start looking to do a remodeling project as simple as a roof or as complicated as an addition, they have no idea what the project cost will be. The annual Remodeling magazine Cost vs. Value explanation reveals average costs for mid range and high end homes for greater Cincinnati.

If you are looking at doing something as simple as replacing a roof or remodeling a kitchen, it is very helpful to get a general idea of what the project costs before getting started.

It's a New Year!

by Tom Bolt on January 3, 2015

Construction Solutions Cincinnati is ringing in the new year with a ton of new projects coming up! We hope everyone in the Cincinnati area and beyond had a safe and happy new year as well a very Merry Christmas with all of their friends and family. As the weather starts to get colder and colder, be sure to keep your home's insulation and sources of air leaks in mind. Windows, doors, attics and many more points around your home are prime sources for cold air to be leaking in and pushing your gas or electric heating prices through the roof. Don't wait-- contact us today for an assessment on any drafty spots in your home and find out what we can do to remedy them immediately!

Reds Retreat, Home Renovation

by Tom Bolt on June 16, 2015

Construction Solutions recently embarked on a massive home renovation project in one of the many hearts of Cincinnati-- Mt. Lookout. Driven by our passion for our hometown, Construction Solutions took a neglected, withering home and transformed it into a Cincinnati Reds retreat style cabin that has Cincinnati history flourishing through every nook and cranny of the newly renovated home. Not a single detail was overlooked in this beautiful home transformation project. Check out our article in the National section of House Trends website!

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