The phone at Roto-Rooter in Yakima is ringing off the hook these days. Employees take up to 30 calls a day from frustrated homeowners. KIMA headed out with one of the plumbers to one of them.
Gaps in the siding let frigid air get under Gary's house. It froze the water in a pipe under the bathroom. Gary's shower is out of commission.
What else did our technician find under the house?
"Just a lot of ice and moisture from the air drafts," said Brook Scheuffele.
And, out came the power heater to defrost it. But, not all problems are fixed so easily. The cold can take a toll on your pipes, causing cracks, which could lead to a major leak.
This is the most common call for Roto Rooter. Businesses see it too. A pipe broke in the attic of a local empty business. It flooded the walkway and parking lot below. It took eight firefighters to stop the deluge. The walkway and parking lot now look more like a skating rink.
"It's a little dangerous."
Betty King co-owns Elite Cosmetology Barber and Spa Academy next door to the place with the broken pipe.
"These vacant buildings need to at least keep power on or gas on so as to at least keep it warm enough so the pipes aren't freezing," said King.
Our service technician's advice?
"Preventative maintenance on the piping system, insulation and when it's really cold, it's always best to let the faucets drip."
Otherwise, you could be his next house call.
Another way to prevent cracked pipes and ice blockages? If your pipes are against an outer wall and concealed by a cabinet in the kitchen or bathroom, open the cabinet doors and let in the heat from the rest of the house. It will counteract the cold from outside.