Frozen Pipes, Pools Wreak Havoc Across DFW

By Frank Heinz and Susy Solis
|  Monday, Jan 11, 2010  |  Updated 7:23 PM CDT
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Ice, Ice, Baby

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Firefighters say people should not walk on frozen pools or ponds, because there is no way to tell how thick the ice is.

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Pool Problems

As temperatures plummet, North Texans report problems with their pools. Firefighters stress that no one should walk or stand on frozen pools or ponds.

Freezing Cold Causes Trouble for Pipes

Sub-freezing temperatures have caused a lot of problems for old pipes in Dallas/Fort Worth.
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Last week's arctic blast has caused more than a few headaches -- the latest of which now include frozen, busted pipes blamed for a variety of ills ranging from no water in homes to car crashes.

In all, the city of Dallas fielded 360 calls over a 24-hour period and said it repaired 22 pipelines with its own potable water system. In Fort Worth, the city received 120 weather-related calls Saturday into Sunday.

Pool companies were also swamped with calls from concerned homeowners. Pool experts say a layer of ice on a pool is not a big deal, but ice can clog underground pipes and filters, all of which can be expensive to repair.

"Filter, water pump, heater -- all that stuff could crack and cause major damage," said Bill Winters, owner of Bill's Pool Services.

Most homes have a freeze guard, but many Texans opt out of it, thinking the threat of a freeze is unlikely. Pool experts say heaters and freeze guards can also malfunction.

The ice activity continued Monday at the intersection of Beach Street and Goddard Road in Fort Worth, where a broken pipe and water bubbling into the roadway may have played a role in a car crash.

In Arlington, Fellowship Academy was forced to cancel classes Monday and Tuesday after frozen pipes burst over the weekend, flooding the school. The school lost teaching materials, supplies and personal items and is now searching for somewhere to hold classes while workers repair the water damage.  Administrators hope to find another location for classes by Wednesday. The church was forced to cancel Sunday services as well.

Dallas resident Korey Klostermeier said a copper pipe burst in a crawl space under his home, pooling water to about 1 foot in depth.

"There was a lake under the house ... he [the plumber] said there was close to about a foot of water down there," said Klostermeier. "I was going to have the city come out -- I guess they were overwhelemed.  He came out this morning."

Steven Hagel, AAA Auger Plumbing, said his crews have been working 24/7 through the weekend and that business is up about 40 percent due to the weather.

"We've had a lot of cold weather and pipes have frozen," said Hagel. "As they thaw out, you may get a breakage."

Anyone suffering a ruptured pipe should turn the water off either at the wall or the main and then call the city or a plumber to begin repairs.

Homeowners with frozen pools will have to wait until they thaw to assess the damage. In the meantime, firefighters say people should not walk on frozen pools or ponds, because there is no way to tell how thick the ice is.

NBCDFW's Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.

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