Pipe repairs lead to insulation gap discovery

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The fallout from last week's winter storm is shining light on glaring problems, some of those inside your own home.

Burst pipes and ruined homes. It is a story unfolding across our area.

When our pipes burst, I assumed it was bad luck. But that was not the whole story.

RELATED: Plumbers receive record amount of service calls for broken pipes

When our plumber opened up the drywall to get to the leak, we discovered there was no insulation behind the wall. That's probably the case around the entire home.

It's a widespread problem in houses built before the 1970's, according to home inspectors.

"In a lot of older homes you are going to find a lot of walls, ceiling cavities and wall cavities without insulation, and lot of that has come from a previous repair that someone did and never replaced the insulation. That happens too," said Larry Malloy of Able Inspections and Infrared.

SEE ALSO: New Jersey plumber, family travel to Texas to help make critical repairs after storm

Like so many of our neighbors, we had broken pipes in the attic. Most of the pipes in my attic are wrapped with simple and inexpensive insulation. Those pipes were fine.

It turns out that the pipe that had burst was not wrapped.

Inspectors say building codes do not require all the pipes to be wrapped, and that could have played a role in the damage done last week.

"In this particular storm, it was a lot. It was a major problem," said James Sutherland of A & D Inspections.

You can get pipe wrapping fairly cheap, and if you have some skill, it can be a do-it-yourself project. But I warn you, getting into the attic can be difficult, so you might want a professional to take care of it.

As for insulation in the walls, that's a job for a pro.

Once all the repairs are done and the improvements are made, we hope our home will be better prepared for the next cold blast, saving us money down the road.

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