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Frozen pipes cause headaches for homeowners

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LAWTON, Okla._One local plumbing company said they are having an influx of calls for not only broken pipes but also for frozen ones.

While temperatures are set to dip below freezing again Monday night, there are some solutions to getting water back flowing into your home without waiting for them to thaw.

If your pipes at home are frozen, you don't have to sit and wait for the temperatures outside to warm-up to get your water back. If they can locate where the pipe is frozen it only takes between 20 minutes and an hour to get water flowing again.

"That is a real big thing for people who have been without water," Van Pollard with Pippin Brothers Plumbing said. He explained that winter storms like what most of southwest Oklahoma experienced Sunday can cause major problems when it comes to water pipes. From completely frozen lines to major breaks, the solutions come down to what kind of pipes your home has.

Pollard said that older homes usually have copper or galvanized piping and new homes have plastic or what he calls PEX. Luckily his teams have solutions to thaw out any of the three kinds, "If they have metal pipes and they do freeze, we can use the thawing machine or other techniques to thaw their pipes out and regain their water back." For plastic pipes they can use heat guns to get the water flowing again.

People living in older homes are at a greater risk Pollard explained, "They are more susceptible to freezing because metal absorbs the cold a lot quicker. You have a greater heat exchange with a copper pipe."

While his team worked under one Lawton home, the verdict was not good. A pipe burst. That's why he says it is essential to pay attention to your water flow when temperatures drop, "If their line is not completely frozen, you will get pressure built up and as more water freezes it continues to expand so you stand a greater chance of your pipe bursting"

Since temperatures are going to be below freezing again Monday night, Pollard says that everyone should keep a slow stream of hot water flowing from their faucets because hot water freezes quicker than cold water. And while you might see a small increase in your water bill, it will be much less than replacing a line or having your pipes unfrozen.

Pippin Brothers said Monday that it is likely that the number of pipe breaks could increase moving forward because of the current drought conditions, paired with recent cold temperatures and increased moisture, are causing more ground shifts.

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