Extreme cold leaves many in Triangle with frozen pipes, plumbers busy

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Monday, December 26, 2022
Extreme cold leaves many in Triangle with frozen pipes, plumbers busy
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The recent bout of cold weather that gripped much of the U.S. left some in the Triangle with frozen pipes and no hot water.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The recent bout of cold weather that gripped much of the U.S. and affected thousands across the state caused one Triangle resident to make a call to a local plumber.

Aoife O'Connor, who relocated to Raleigh last year from Minnesota, found herself with no hot water since Friday.

"We kind of guessed with the storm; we knew the timing of the storm and the water going out with the cold temperatures that it was possible the pipes could have been affected and as soon as we noticed the hot water going out," said O'Connor. "I grew up my entire 30 years in Minnesota before coming to Raleigh and never thought about pipes freezing because of the infrastructure...we're prepared for that. So now living in a home here, it's my first time. It's real fun."

O'Connor called William Parrish Plumbing in Raleigh for a service call to assess the situation.

"First thing we look at is the water heater," said plumber Nahu Delgado. "Second thing we look at is frozen pipes."

Delgado and his colleague searched O'Connor's home for the water heater and noticed the pipes were frozen. He used a blow torch to heat the pipes in an effort to melt the block of ice preventing the hot water from running.

He suggested insulating exposed pipes to prevent freezing.

"All this (cold) air is gonna be right on top of these water pipes, and it's gonna start freezing and give you a really hard time," he said.

Repairs for maintenance work can cost residents anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

"I've seen people crying before," said Delgado recalling past service calls with $1,000-plus invoices. "So this is part of the routine. Come here and find out what's the problem. Why this thing is not giving hot water. Basic stuff for us. Very complicated for the homeowner."

William Parrish Plumbing suggests residents do the following:

  • Know your plumbing system and main shutoff locations
  • Contact the City or water purveyor in an emergency to shut off the water supply at the meter
  • Use heat tape for piping locations outside or the exterior of the home, including using insulation
  • Close foundation vents around the home
  • Disconnect and store away water hoses and install protection covers
  • Have a licensed plumber to make assessments on potential hazards around the home
  • Run water during freezing temperatures

"(Christmas) wasn't ruined. Still festive. Still cooked everything. It was all good," said O'Connor. "It's just hot showers have been hard to come by. So that will feel great when we get our hot water back."