What to look out for as ice in your pipes and snow on the ground starts to thaw

Local

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As things are starting to thaw out, you may think you’re in the clear because you haven’t noticed any leaks in your home, but a local plumber tells us that may not be the case.

“The damage that’s done to the pipes, some of it is not visual,” said Jayme Mullin, owner of Hi-Tech Plumbing in Edmond.

Mullin says his phones have been ringing off the hook with calls for help.

“We haven’t had anything like this since ‘89. There’s been a few in ‘08, ‘11 that got us busy for a couple of weeks. But this, the volume of people that need help is just unlike anything we’ve seen since that time,” Mullin said.

As frozen pipes are thawing out, the damage is becoming clear, causing some homes to flood. But Mullin says there’s something a lot of homeowners are learning the hard way.

“The biggest thing is knowing where to turn the water off. Because it isn’t like ‘oh I’m in the clear, my pipes have thawed.’ They could just later. And when they do, you really need to know where your shut off valves are,” Mullin said.

Even though temps have yet to rise above freezing, he says most pipes are already starting to thaw, but you can help speed along the process with items like a hairdryer or heat tape.

The Red Cross even says you can use a space heater, but they have a warning.

“Do not use an open flame. Don’t use anything flammable, propane, a blow torch,” said Angie Springs, Red Cross Spokesperson.

And outside the home, thawing snow is causing problems as well. You’ll want to keep an eye out for slick spots on your porch and driveway, and on sidewalks. 

“We’ve got bitter cold nights still ahead even into the weekend. So any water that does melt is gonna refreeze— even before the sun goes down,” said News 4’s Chief Meteorologist Mike Morgan.

Falling icicles are also a hazard to keep an eye out for, as they can cause injury.

Mullin says you may be tempted not to drip your faucets anymore. He says for now, he’d keep them goings as temps are still not above freezing.

Mullin also says the last few days plumbers have been having issues quickly getting to homes. While road conditions have improved on most city streets, neighborhoods are still a problem for drivers. Mullin has had some of his own employees get stuck in snow.

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