Faucets quit working? Check if you still have pipes.

I have just come across another explanation for when your faucets quit working.  (Besides, of course, the most likely reason in Arkansas last week: frozen pipes.) 

A Little Rock woman … arriv[ed] home to find the faucets in her house not working. She later found water streaming from under her home and when she checked, the copper pipes under her house were missing.

From a news story reporting increased penalties for copper theft here in Arkansas.*

Around these parts, copper wire thefts are fairly common, but in England they are losing entire roofs from their churches.  One church was hit seven times, including a theft using the scaffolding set up to replace the previously-stolen roof.  Our Religious News section in the local paper had a short article about a product called Smart Water.  The company’s explanation sounds like magic to me:

Each bottle of SmartWater contains a unique forensic code which is dabbed into the nooks and crannies of the valuable item. A clear solution which cures hard, SmartWater is virtually impossible to remove and will withstand significant attack. SmartWater has passed extensive testing by organisations such as the Forensic Science Service, an agency of the Home Office, and Thatcham.


By developing a strategic approach, and working closely with the Police across the UK, SmartWater has become well known to the criminal fraternity, not least because of its 100% record in convictions. Having applied the SmartWater solution, all that is required is to display the SmartWater warning labels. SmartWater has become a cornerstone in household and business security and one of the most powerful deterrents in the fight against the common criminal.

Weird.  Contemplating PEX versus copper for our house. We currently have a lot of old galvanized, but we’d have to find a plumber willing to do PEX.  The Chicago plumber we asked wasn’t really willing to try it.

*The news story also reports repeated thefts of utility lines and from new construction across the state.

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One Response to “Faucets quit working? Check if you still have pipes.”

  1. Julian says:

    I’m downstate from you in Bloomington, Il and we replaced our severely ineffective galvanized last summer — I wanted to go with PEX, but it is not accepted by city code here. Apparently Bloomington (and according to the inspector) many Il cities are 10+ years behind in adopting changes to reflect new technology. We went with copper as we had no other choice.

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