BUFFALO, N.Y.-As extremely low temperatures become of a norm for Buffalo a long busy winter season has emerged for plumbing companies, like Cellino Plumbing.
More and more homeowners are experiencing problems with flooding, frozen pipes and even frozen drain lines starting just before Christmas.
To prevent frozen pipes, homeowners should be aware of the obvious causes such as cracks in the walls or broken windows. One cause that may not come to homeowners minds is the air coming through their dryer vents.
"When the wind starts blowing if you don't have a damper on there the wind will get in there," Anthony Cellino, owner of Cellino Plumbing said. "A lot of time you see dryer vents that are dangling over pipes, it'll follow it right in and freeze the pipe right there."
Some homeowners attempt to address problems with frozen pipes themselves. Oftentimes this can be a recipe for disaster, since the average person does not have the proper equipment or training to deal with these plumbing issues.
Cellino has a few important suggestions for what homeowners should do while they are waiting for professional help to arrive. He advises homeowners to locate their main water shutoff and shut it down before a pipe bursts in order to prevent flooding. Additionally, rather than using an open flame, which can lead to insulation igniting, Cellino suggests applying heat from an electric hair dryer or a hot rag on the frozen pipes.
Preventive measures are also good to keep in mind. The ideal temperature to keep the thermostat varies depending on the age of the home Cellino explained. "If you have an older home you'll want to keep it a little warmer, newer homes are better insulated and don't seem to have as many problems," Cellino said. "If you have a crawl space in your house you probably want to keep it at least 65 or 70 degrees."
Before the next winter season, Cellino suggests wrapping heat tape around your piping system to keep the heat around the pipes before they freeze or using foam pipe or regular pipe insulation. Another simple fix is to leave a faucet running a bit to keep water moving through your piping system since generally moving water does not freeze.