Frigid Temperatures Keeping Local Plumbers Busy - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Frigid Temperatures Keeping Local Plumbers Busy

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Many people have their water heaters in their garages which is fine under normal conditions.

But some garages are getting well below freezing and that's causing some big problems.

Marc Totten owns Master Service Plumbing and says he has been getting calls, nonstop, for customers with broken pipes.

"Ten, 12 hours a day," Totten said. "Pretty much around the clock, actually."

He's responding to scenes all over town.

One residential driveway is underneath a couple inches of water, after a solar heat exchanger froze and burst, flooding the garage.

"If a pipe does break, anything in the immediate vicinity is pretty much going to be water-damaged and ruined," Totten said. "You're going to end up missing time from work. If you don't have coverage, it's going to cost you money."

"I have seen busted pipes cost several thousand dollars in damage, in the house," Ken Moore, of River City Plumbing said. "Water is not your friend when you're not containing it."

Scot Marshall owns a home in northwest Reno. He doesn't have flooding, but he still has some problems. The pipe coming from his water heater froze and might even be cracked, causing a huge inconvenience.

"In the morning, when you're getting ready for work, I actually microwaved a coffee cup, full of water, and used the water to shave with," Marshall said. "So, it's a drag."

Marshall called River City Plumbing to fix his problem.

"If there is a leak, they want to catch it quick, so it doesn't cause a large amount of damage," Moore said.

There are some things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing:

  • Make sure exterior pipes are insulated, and cover the water faucets
  • If you have pipes in exterior walls, keep cabinets open to let warm air get to them
  • Keep water circulating by keeping a faucet on

"If there's any question, at all, if it's going to be too cold, leave the water running," Totton said. "Not a drip, not a trickle. It sounds like a waste but it will save you in the long run. Leave your water running."

It's also a good idea to use a space heater to keep your garage warm.

Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature, even when you're not home... And make sure it's set above 55.

Also, flag your shut off valve, because once it's buried in the snow, it can be very hard to find.

Written by Paul Nelson
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