Plumbers getting more calls for freezing pipes

  FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The bitterly cold weather can be tough for homeowners. When it get this cold, there are concerns about water pipes and heating systems.

You might be doing everything right to prepare your pipes and heating systems for sub-freezing temperatures, and still have problems. It's just that cold. There are some ways though to help prevent problems.

Over at Handyside Inc. in Etters, the phone has been ringing off the hook.

"Pipes are freezing," Nathan Pierce, the operations manager, said. "Heating systems are going down, it's an all around emergency right now."

They've gotten calls for frozen pipes, and even some bursted ones. Pierce said he's not surprised.

"When the temperature changes this fast, these things comes up really quickly and need to be handled just as quickly," Pierce said.

And the cold weather can be tricky because even if you've tried to prepare for the worst, sometimes your home can catch you off guard.

"This weather can take you by surprise," Pierce said. "Pipes can freeze that have never frozen before. Furnaces that were running fine last week can just all of a sudden know it's just too much for them and they might need immediate repair."

Some tip to help keep your pipes from freezing: set the thermostat a degree or two higher than you normally would, and let a small amount of water run through your faucets.

"If you're going to let that water run, what we're looking for is just a drip or a slow stream of water," Pierce said. "We don't want to waste water, but at this point we also don't want to have a major disaster in the home."

Also, open up the cabinets under the sink so heat can get to the pipes.

"If you are trying to save some money, make sure you keep heat on in the areas where that plumbing is," Pierce said. "Don't leave those areas isolated. If you have any appliances in a garage or a basement make sure that that area is getting heat, too. Often those overlooked areas are where the problems occur."

And in the unfortunate event your pipes do freeze, make sure you get them looked at ASAP.

"Because Wednesday when this weather warms back up all of a sudden any of those splits, cracks, or leaks might show up and it might happen when you're at work," Pierce said.

You can also draw your curtains and keep your blinds closed to better insulate your home. Pierce also wanted to remind those who might be traveling to have someone check in and make sure your heat is still working while you're away.

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