BEREA, Ky. (WKYT) — Some plumbing companies in the Lexington area say they are short on technicians and are struggling to keep up with the incoming calls, often regarding problems caused by the weather.
Sharon Clark woke up on Saturday morning to an unwelcome sight – water dripping from her walls and soaking her carpet.
“Your basement flooded, the baseboard ripped off the wall,” said Joe Barker, who works for Fast Flow Plumbing, a Lexington-based company.
Considerable damage, all caused by a ruptured pipe in Clark’s water heater.
“The water heater is actually in a closet in the garage, and of course there’s no heater in the garage,” Barker said. “So that definitely helped make this heater do what it did.”
Clark is far from the only one having this problem. Barker has been a plumber for 16 years and says his company takes several weather-related calls a day.
“Obviously, the colder it gets, the more it absorbs,” Barker said.
Even with insurance, it costs Clark thousands. As such, Barker says insulation is paramount to avoid suffering the same fate, for both pipes and water heaters.
“Especially if your house is on a crawl space, go around and check your vents. Make sure everything is sealed so the cold air can’t get in,” Barker said.
“They make insulated blankets that you can put on top of your water heater,” Barker added.
He says letting your faucets drip a little on very cold nights can also help.
“It keeps the water circulating through the pipe,” Barker said. “Moving water takes much longer to freeze than still water.”
But he noted that freezing of pipes and water heaters can’t always be avoided, and so calls like Clark’s keep plumbers like Barker busy long after dark.
Barker also noted that when you try to turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, you know if you have frozen pipes. While it’s possible to thaw the lines yourself, he says it’s best to call a professional who can handle the situation.
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