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Lexington plumber offers advice on how to avoid frozen, burst pipes as weather-related calls increase

BEREA, Ky. (WKYT) – Some Lexington-area plumbing companies say they’re short on technicians and struggling to answer incoming calls, often related to weather-caused issues.

Sharon Clark woke up Saturday morning to an unpleasant sight – water dripping down her walls and soaking her carpet.

“His basement is flooded, the baseboard is away from the wall,” said Joe Barker, who works for Lexington-based company Fast Flow Plumbing.

Extensive damage, all caused by a burst pipe in Clark’s water heater.

“The water heater is actually in a closet in the garage, and of course there’s no heater in the garage,” Barker said. “So that certainly played a part in this heater doing what it did.”

Clark is far from the only one with this problem. Barker has been a plumber for 16 years and says his company gets several weather-related calls a day.

“Of course, the colder it gets, the more it picks up,” Barker said.

Even with insurance, it’s costing Clark thousands. So Barker says insulation is key to avoiding the same fate, for both pipes and water heaters.

“Especially if your home is on a crawlspace, go around and check your vent doors to make sure everything is sealed so cold air can’t get in,” Barker said.

“They make insulation blankets that you can get and put on your water heater,” Barker added.

He says letting your faucets drip a little on really cold nights can also help.

“What it does is keep the water flowing through the pipe,” Barker said. “Moving water takes much longer to freeze than still water.”

But he noted that freezing pipes and water heaters can’t always be avoided, and as a result, calls like Clark’s keep plumbers like Barker busy long after dark.

Barker also noted that you’ll know if you have frozen pipes when you try to turn on a faucet and nothing comes out. While it’s possible to unfreeze the lines on your own, he says it’s best to call a professional who can handle the situation.

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