Plumbers see spike in calls due to frozen pipes across the Miami Valley
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT)- Jerry Stover has been a plumber with A-Atherton plumbing for more than a decade. Stover says the arctic weather is keeping him busy.
"I was even out New Year's Day for frozen, busted pipes. A lot of cutting walls open to fix the broken pipes," Stover said.
We caught up with Stover while he was responding to a call for frozen water pipes. The pipes are made of Pex plastic. Unfortunately, that means there’s not much Stover can do to unfreeze the pipes. He did let the owner know what steps they could take to thaw them.
One thing you can do to try and prevent this from happening to you is to keep your faucets dripping.
"Especially if you have lines on outside walls or close to an outside wall. Open the cabinet doors and let the heat from the house get in. Leave the faucet dripping because [the lines] can still freeze even if you open the cabinet doors," Stover said.
Stover says the Pex pipes will be okay, once they're thawed but it's a different story if you have a rigid metal pipe.
"If you have a copper pipe and it freezes and it expands, it cracks right away versus the Pex piping here that will expand to three times its diameter," Stover said.
Stover says you might not know anything is wrong with the pipe until it unfreezes but when it does, it'll have the full pressure of city water behind it.
"It can cause a lot of flood damage at that point and we've actually had several calls where it's caused significant damage where it's flooded people's basements," Stover said.
Stover uses what looks like a battery charger to unfreeze metal pipes. The cables connect to a metal pipe and run a current through the pipe between the clips.
You can get a heater tape to wrap around any pipes near outside walls or in unheated garages.
"It comes in a roll, like an extension cord more or less. You wrap it around the pipes and plug it in and what it does is keep the pipes at a certain temperature," Stover said.
Stover says it's worth it to pay a little extra in your water and electric bill now than to have him come out and unfreeze a pipe or worse yet clean up water damage from a busted pipe.