MEMPHIS, Tenn — While the arctic blast may be on its way out, it’s leaving quite a mess. A number of Memphians are reporting busted pipes as a result of the freezing temperatures, leaving many without running water.
“We were very careful, it’s just an unusual storm for Memphis and we’re not used to this kind of weather,” said Chris West from Piperton as he was watching plumbers try to fix his broken pipes from the Christmas weekend.
“We had a big family get together and a pipe broke in the wall and I was able to get it capped off, thank god, and then as soon as that happened another one broke where my refrigerator is," West said. "We knew that we had to do it ourselves to get the water cut off because getting a plumber on Christmas Eve is probably impossible.”
Several plumbing companies said the demand is overwhelming.
Traditional Plumbing in Memphis told ABC24 workers were trying to catch up on close to 100 calls. Choate’s, another plumbing service, had to start calling in workers early to help handle these emergency calls.
“It being a holiday weekend, we’ve had to call in a lot more people that were originally supposed to be off,” said Brian Chaote, Chaote’s Asst. General Manager.
With the temperatures now rising, experts are asking Memphians to take this time to prepare for the rest of the winter, especially older buildings and homes with exposed pipes.
“Some of the older homes, the pipes aren’t as well insulated, but any time the pipes aren’t as insulated, it has a greater chance of getting exposed to the cold,” said Chaote.
As the pipes begin to thaw, Chaote adds now is the time to check for water damage and get pipes inspected by professionals, while making sure you know how to shut off your water if you do not plan on being home.
“Either at the main house or in its isolated areas under the sink or at the water heater, but the best thing to do is shut the water off at that meter if you have no flowing water, if you’re going to leave that home, last thing you want is for you to come back, and that pipe to thaw and you to come back with a bunch of water flowing out,” said Choate.
If your pipes burst, the first thing you need to do is turn off your water supply to avoid any further damage. After that contact a plumber to get help.
If the temperature begins to drop again, make sure you keep your homes warm consistently, and insulate your pipes, and if your pipes are interior, make sure you pull furniture away from the wall where the pipes are so air can circulate. Also have both warm and cold water dripping from your faucets.