RANDOLPH TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Harold Doolittle sat on a living room chair Monday afternoon with a pellet burner as his only source of warmth. His wife, Shirley, was wrapped in a blanket.
Doolittle, 83, was chilly inside his Randolph Township home and worried that pipes could freeze after his boiler broke down, cutting off the heat.
"Sunday morning, we woke up at 3:30 and it was cold in here and the boiler wouldn't work," Doolittle said.
Crews from H Jack's Plumbing and Heating spent Monday installing a new high-efficiency boiler in the home of the senior citizens.
The company has responded to dozens of no heat emergency calls in the past few weeks. Most of the customers needed new furnaces.
"We're busy. We're very busy. We're running around the clock and it will get worse this week," said General Manager Jeremy McCoy. "When the temperature drops to the degree it has been the past few days and will be this coming week, older units that are a little worn out tend to break and fail."
McCoy stressed the importance of furnace maintenance, reminding residents to replace filters every one our two months. He also suggested scheduling a "clean and check" service call.
"It's a tuneup. We'll come out and take a look at it and make sure it's running properly."
With the wind chill temperatures possibly dipping to 30 or 40 degrees below zero later this week, McCoy is certain plumbers will be flooded with frozen pipes calls.
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"There's no telling how many, but I would say you're in the hundreds," McCoy told News 5.
He suggested keeping sink cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipe and running a slow stream of water from faucets from Tuesday until Friday.
"Running water is harder to freeze than water that's standing still."
Doolittle is grateful his pipes didn't freeze after losing heat and feels relieved that his new boiler will be up and running ahead of the arctic blast.
"I'm not used to it," Doolittle said. "I think I'll stay in the house if they get the heat on and be warm."