Pipes burst across city amid cold snap, plumber tells how to prevent it

Credit: KTHV
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — You may have noticed in the last week, it has gotten cold outside.

What you may not have noticed are leaks and breaks in your plumbing, that is until it is too late.

If that has happened to you, you're not alone.

Cooler temperatures have caused frozen pipes, leaky lines, and headaches for home and business owners.

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You’ve heard it all before: let the water drip and turn off your hose lines.

Still, people don't heed the warnings and will end up with leaky pipes, a big mess and a hefty bill.

We spoke with a plumbing company Tuesday which has already had hundreds of plumbing calls due to the cold weather.

"So far we have noticed a tremendous amount of frozen pipes. Especially in attics. Also in outside walls and hose faucets," Alton Donalson with Arrow Plumbing said.

They've been averaging between 30 and 40 weather-related plumbing calls per day ever since the temperature dropped.

"I would say it is in both homes, new and old, but more in your older homes than your newer homes, due to lack of insulation," Donalson said.

Donalson says most homes are built to sustain temperatures in the 30s, but when temperatures dip down into the teens for days, like we've seen, that's when the problems really develop.

"There was a church and another business the other day that had the problem; they left their heat down too low, came back, and then they had some issues with pipes being frozen, so people are not doing what we would think they would know to do,” he said.

Even the Mariott downtown has been affected. Tuesday, Arkansas Department of Transportation crews were scraping ice off Highway 10 after a pipe burst at the hotel.

So what can you do?

"At night, or when it is very very cold, you just want to leave your cabinet doors open, and also possibly want to leave the faucet running just to keep it from freezing,” Donalson said.

Central Arkansas Water says they've had no major breaks on their end, despite the frigid temps. One way they prevent it is by doing what they suggest the public do.

"We do that with our system as well and our mains and just make sure we keep the water flowing through the system as best we can to prevent any freezing,” Doug Shackleford of Central Arkansas Water.

Also, close vents to the outside of your house, keep your garage door shut and keep your house warm, even if you're leaving for the day or night.

Unfortunately, for many, they may not realize the problems until the temperatures go back up.

"Once it freezes and breaks, sometimes you don't see the all the leaks until you inquire, until all the lines have thawed out. Sometimes you'll get one leak, fix that one leak, then after the rest of the lines thaw out, then you may have more leaks,” Donalson said, adding that it can be very costly. Especially when they have to come out after hours.

Homeowners insurance won't pay for the entire cost, so Donalson suggests sparing yourself the cost and the headache by preventing pipe bursts in the first place.