Frozen pipes in Columbia increase due to cold weather

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COLUMBIA – The city is experiencing a larger number of frozen pipe issues than normal this week.

According to an email from Columbia Water and Light spokesperson Lucia Bourgeois, there have been a "higher incidence of water outage instances due to the cold weather, but at this time I do not have numbers on how many.”

She said more details would likely be in closer to the end of the week.

KOMU 8 News reached out to several plumbing companies in the area, but most said they did not have time to talk because they were too busy dealing with pipe issues. 

Justin Lowe, with MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, said his company has seen several cases caused by frozen pipes.

“The on-call tech over the weekend ran all Friday night, Saturday and Sunday thawing pipes,” he said.

Lowe said when he went in on Monday, he spent most of his day thawing pipes. With the warmer weather over the last couple of days, he said, house flooding has been a problem.

“The pipes inside are thawing out and they’ve been busted, and there’s just water pouring out everywhere,” he said. “I worked last night till 8 o’clock doing nothing but house to house, repairing busted water lines.”

Lowe said calls typically slow down this time of year, but with the current conditions, MasterTech is booking calls days in advance.

The owner of Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Water Cleanup, Rob Marrone, said his company has experienced similar circumstances. 

“We’ve had triple the amount of calls,” he said.

The company normally does around 20 calls a day, he said. Wednesday, they were at 56 before sundown.

Marrone offered few tips for homeowners who want to avoid freezing pipes:

  • Every fall, you should disconnect your garden hose from your outside hydrant
  • Cover any exposed water lines with heat tape and insulation
  • Make sure your crawl space, cellar and basement doors are closed
  • Open up cabinet doors under sinks so that warm air in the house can reach pipes      

According to KOMU 8 Weathercaster Tim Schmidt, the main concern over this week will be the freezing temperatures at night. The "frigid" air will hit below freezing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night. However, he said conditions will get better after that.

The city's website has more information on how to prevent frozen pipes.