ELKO — The freezing temperatures aren’t only an inconvenience for winter fun, they’re also backing up plumbing services.
“It’s been a hectic three weeks for residents and companies alike,” said Portia Eaves of Charles Chester Plumbing & Heating.
The company has been swamped with orders for fixing busted pipes and is backed up about a week, Eaves said.
Just through Tuesday, Chester Plumbing had received 31 calls, said service manager John Gilbert. The past couple weeks have had call volumes up to four times greater than normal.
For other plumbing companies in town, things are beginning to back off. Plumbline Mechanical personnel said the number of calls has stemmed off this week, but was bad the previous two weeks.
Bob Penrod, owner of Penrod’s Plumbing, has had the same experience. Most of the problems are with mobile homes, he said.
“Usually, homes on foundations don’t have the freeze-up problems,” Penrod said. “Mobile homes do usually because the skirting has too many holes where air can blow through.”
Heat tape can be placed at the water line where it attaches to the trailer, Penrod said. A thermostat on the tape activates it in cold temperatures.
Older homes, however, have also had problems because of poor insulation, Gilbert said.
“People didn’t prepare themselves because the winters have been mild,” Gilbert said. “...Things are catching up with everybody.”
Sometimes pipes can freeze in crawl spaces. Gilbert recommends temperatures in crawl spaces be maintained above 35 degrees to avoid freezing.
“If you know you’re not well insulated, it’s very inexpensive to put a small heater in to keep your temperature up so it’s not freezing,” Gilbert said.
Lack of poor insulation and age are major contributors to freezing pipes, he said.