Area Plumbers Expect Super-Sized Pipe Problems

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Thursday, Feb 3, 2011  |  Updated 12:01 AM CDT
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Residents and plumbers are scrambling to keep pipes warm.

Omar Villafranca, NBCDFW.com

Residents and plumbers are scrambling to keep pipes warm.

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North Texas plumbers are bracing for a flood of problems when frozen pipes thaw.

Many residents reported slow-running faucets in this cold weather.

“We have gotten plenty of calls,” said Joseph DiFrancesco with Public Service Plumbers in Dallas.

One of the company's plumbers, Casey Bolton, repaired an outside water line that ruptured Wednesday.

He said exposed outdoor pipes are among the most vulnerable in an extended freeze but inside pipes on exterior walls are also a potential problem.

“Even as far as inside the house, pipes can freeze -- in the attic, under the house. It’s not just outside pipes that are prone to this,” Bolton said.

DiFrancesco said many customers find hot-water lines freezing before cold lines because hot water heaters remove minerals that keep cold water from freezing.

But the company tells customers that most frozen pipes are very difficult to repair until they thaw because it is hard to know where a blockage may have occurred.

Frozen pipes may thaw with no damage or they could rupture. Property owners with slow-running pipes should prepare for the possibility of leaks that may occur when pipes thaw.

“Go ahead and determine, how do you turn off your water, so in the event this leak is in your living room ceiling, you know where to go, what to do,” DiFrancesco said.

The company employs more than two dozen plumbers, and most have been asked to take time off during this freeze so they’ll be ready for an expected flood of work.

Service manager Larry Spector is also checking supplies and equipment.

“Then it’s just a matter of getting out there and running 300 to 400 calls and being able to categorize those calls in the right area so you’re not all over town,” Spector said.

The workers at Public Service Plumbers are not planning Super Bowl parties.

“Come Sunday, we will be absolutely busy,” Bolton said.

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