Plumbers deal with service calls for frozen pipes as cold continues

MEQUON/GRAFTON (WITI) -- Plumbers across the Milwaukee area say it's been a very busy two days dealing with frozen pipes! We've seen bitterly cold temperatures early this work week, but one plumber says it's not the cold itself that's the main culprit.

"I can usually clear a pipe from being frozen in less than five minutes once I have the machine set up on the piping," Jim Demerath, who owns a plumbing business told FOX6 News.

That efficiency has been essential this week for plumbers like Demerath as the calls for service haven't stopped.

Of course, the cold is largely to blame, but Demerath says there's more to it.

"The main reason we've had so many frozen pipes in the North Shore is from the wind. The wind penetrates the siding and we've had a great increase in the areas of venting," Demerath said.

The problem has affected all kinds of pipes.

Grafton police say on Tuesday morning, January 7th, a pipe burst at the Baymont Inn on Port Washington Road.

The fourth-floor flooding forced guests to evacuate to a different hotel in Mequon.

When it comes to protecting the pipes in your home, Demerath says your first move should be making sure the pipes are exposed to warm air.

"I've instructed them not turn down the heat in the house. I would like to see the heat at 70 degrees when we have this temperature and this wind," Demerath said.

Demerath says it also helps to keep the faucet dripping, but first:

"Make sure the sink drain does drain. I've seen it before where it's been a slow drain and the next thing you know, we've got a flood in the kitchen," Demerath said.

Demerath says if you have frozen pipes, you should turn off the water to your house before the plumber arrives. If there is a crack, you likely won't know until the water is flowing again, and then you're dealing with water damage.