Huntsville fire department responding to high volume of pipe bursting calls

Huntsville fire department responding to high volume of pipe bursting calls

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Frozen pipes can burst and cause a major homeowner headache.

Capt. Frank McKenzie with the Huntsville fire department said half their calls Tuesday were in response to busted pipes. And he said he doesn't expect the volume of pipe calls to go down over the next couple of days.

"In my experience, yes, the next few days it's going to remain below freezing and the longer it does, the more pipes bust," McKenzie said.

He said the department has responded to houses, apartments, businesses, you name it. But there are ways to protect yourself from a costly cleanup.

McKenzie said to be aware of water puddles in your home or water running down the walls. Be cautious that the water isn't around electrical wires so you don't get shocked trying to clean up a mess.

The Red Cross released the following tips to help guide you:

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, your pipe is probably frozen. Pipes are more likely to freeze when they're in exterior walls of a home.
  • If you think your pipes are frozen, keep the faucet on. The running water will aid ice melting within the pipe when you begin thawing the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater. You can also wrap pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
  • Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or any other open flame.
  • Apply heat to the pipe until water pressure is fully restored.
  • If you cannot locate the frozen pipe or you cannot thaw it, call a plumber.
  • Check all faucets in your home for frozen pipes. If one freezes, others are likely to follow suit.

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