Another arctic blast has plumbers gearing up for a busy week. Temperatures will be well below freezing again tonight, and frozen pipes could leave you with a costly mess.
Plumbers say the last hard freeze caused hundreds of dollars of damage for many businesses and homeowners. But keeping an eye on the weather and your plumbing could save your wallet. Just one simple step is all it takes to save yourself from big repairs.
"Most of the time it's an inactive system that's gonna freeze. So when everyone's done using the water just step outside, turn your outside faucets on and let them run," said Greg Sinclair, plumber.
Sinclair is one of many Albany plumbers who was flooded with calls a few weeks ago. "It was mostly back flows, we had a lot of problems with those."
The company he works for was booked a day in advance with frantic callers when the last hard freeze hit. "We put the emergencies ahead. As the pipes were busted, the water had to be turned off and we put them above everybody else," said Sizemore Plumbing Co-Owner Pam Sizemore.
Sizemore says $300 was the most costly repair, substantially cheaper than the thousands of dollars in damage that could have been done.
"If you get a busted pipe like spraying on your floors, it can damage the floors. If you get one under your house, it's spraying against the house. It can run into a lot of money," said Sizemore. Plumbers say exposed pipes become the biggest problem when sub freezing temperatures move in.
But simply insulating them like this can avoid costly repairs. "Make sure they're not exposed, you know. And that means exposed to the elements, exposed to the sunlight. Sunlight can weaken a lot of plastics," said Sinclair. "The cost of the extra water on your bill is gonna be less of an impact than a repair."
Since many pipes are plastic, he says, make sure to drip your system And don't forget to cover them up. Plumbers say you should keep an eye on your water meters and pipes to check for any leaks. If you're worried, call a plumber with questions.