AKRON, Ohio — Freezing temperatures often lead to frozen pipes in homes, and with single-digit lows in the forecast for about a week, plumbers expect to be busy.
Jeremy McCoy from H. Jack's Plumbing expects his crews will respond to hundreds of calls in the coming days as the deep freeze moves in.
"We know it's coming. We watch the weather and windchill drops, and with that temperature down, that is when we're going to be running," McCoy said.
The veteran plumber said there are a few simple steps you can take to better protect your pipes.
For starters, open up your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to bring in heat, especially if your pipes are on outside walls.
"If you have a drafty area, seal that up. If you have a crawl space, try to get some temporary heat down there," McCoy said.
Another important tip McCoy offers: Run a small, but steady stream of water from your faucets to lessen the chances of pipes freezing. He said that flow is even more important in older homes.
"Water doesn't freeze when it's moving very easily," he said.
If you have a complete lack of water or a trickle, your pipes may be frozen or you may be experiencing a partial freeze.
At that point, McCoy said it's likely time to call a plumber.
"If your pipes freeze, you want to open your faucets so the ice and water has somewhere to go and you should also shut your main off if your main isn't frozen," he said.
If a plumber is called to your home, he or she may use a "heat gun" or "hot boxes" to thaw the pipes. McCoy cautions against homeowners using that equipment themselves and stressed to not use a blowtorch on frozen pipes.
"You should never put an open flame on a pipe, anything like that. It's dangerous in so many ways— fires— and a lot of times, you put that heat on there, the pipe is already broken ad you're gonna get a face full of water."
McCoy said in the worst-case scenarios, damage from bursting pipes can be severe and it can also put a hurt on on your pocketbook.
"It could be hundreds. It could be thousands," McCoy said.
McCoy said his crews are putting extra thawing equipment in their trucks in preparation for a busy week ahead, but he hopes his advice spares some homeowners from making those emergency calls to plumbers.
"We don't live in the Arctic Circle," he said. "This is Ohio, but we do know that it gets cold on days like these, so you just got to do these things for a couple of days and then you should be okay."