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Extended cold snap keeping South Delta plumbing & heating companies busy

Plenty of calls over the holidays to deal with frozen pipes and broken down heating sources
Campbell Plumbing call
Among the many emergency calls for CampbellCare Plumbing, Heating & Air during the current cold snap included frozen pipes in a baseboard heating system at a home in Tsawwassen on Thursday.

The “winter break” has had a whole new meaning for local plumbing and heating businesses that have seen a huge uptick in emergency calls over the holidays.

The extended cold snap has led to frozen pipes in homes, while record low temperatures have overwhelmed some older heating systems.

“No heat calls have increased by 350 percent over the prior week and calls for frozen pipes have increased 1,500 percent over the prior year in the same time period,” said Jane Campbell, general manager of CampbellCare Plumbing, Heating & Air.

Not only are companies needing to make themselves available at all hours, but also needing to overcome less than ideal driving conditions to attend to those house calls.

“Cold snaps are definitely a time where we see a lot of demand for calls for frozen pipes, burst pipes and also no heat. Adding the snow into the mix makes it somewhat challenging to get everywhere we need to go but we are doing our best!” said Elissa McLeod from Acorn Heating Cooling and Plumbing.

The City of Delta has also received calls from residents that don’t have water.

“Given the extremely low temperatures staff have also been responding to resident calls regarding frozen water services. Residents can check out Delta’s social media platforms for tips to prevent frozen water pipes on their properties,” said Marcy Sangret deputy city manager.

Dealing with frozen pipes can be a challenge just to pinpoint the exact location, especially when it means needing to remove drywall or going into a crawl space to locate the potential problem.

“In some cases we can figure out which pipes are frozen and help thaw them out but not always,” explained Tyla Langdon from Neighbourhood Plumbing and Heating. “We typically recommend our clients turn up the heat in their home as high as they can handle, then stay home to ‘babysit’ their house.

“When waterlines freeze they can expand and split open. Unfortunately you won’t know if this has happened until they thaw out, and then you will have a flood on your hands, which you will want to take care of immediately. It’s good to know where and how to shut off your water main as it enters your home in case of this or other water-related emergencies.”

Heating systems may not be a “quick fix” either if a part needs to be ordered or the entire unit needs to be replaced.

“Regular maintenance reduces the likelihood of a breakdown, but things still break with wear and tear,” added Langdon “In the case of a complete breakdown, if we are unable to repair the unit on the spot, we carry small electric heaters to lend to our clients while we wait for parts or a whole replacement system to arrive. Our goal is to have every system up and running on the spot but it just isn’t always possible.”

Temperatures are expected to warm-up over the weekend, reaching a high of 7C on Sunday.