SALISBURY, Md.- One of the biggest dangers to homes in this kind of winter weather is not something you can see, but rather something we are all feeling: The bitter cold. When temperatures fall to 20 degrees or below, pipes become vulnerable to freezing and bursting. That is a reality keeping Delmarva plumbers busy.
A snow day is no day off for people like Dwayne Gochnour of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Friday, he was busy responding to calls including one at Nancy Penn's home in Salisbury.
"Everything's shooting and spitting and when you flush the toilets, it sounds like the house is going to cave in, so it's a panic now," Penn explained.
"On a day like today, calls probably double in volume because people are not prepared for this type of weather that we get around here at this time of year," noted Gochnour. "And so they wait until the last minute, and we end up out here 24 hours a day."
When water freezes, it expands. You have probably seen it happen before if you've ever put a can of soda in the freezer and forgotten about it. That is why it explodes. It is the same concept when it comes to your pipes.
If pipes are not properly insulated, they are even more likely to freeze, which can mean a major headache for homeowners.
"It can lead to major damage to your house, because if you have a busted pipe underneath your house, of course it's going to soak your floor joices.
Besides insulating, there are things you can do to keep your home from falling victim to the cold.
"Always be prepared for this type of weather," Gochnour said.
He recommends removing hoses from any hose bibs, and making sure all vents on your foundation are closed to keep the cold air from getting in. And if you do have a problem, Gochnour said you should call a professional plumber right away.
Other tips include letting a small drip of water run to keep water flowing, and leaving cabinets open so heat can get to the pipes.
If you know you are going to be away from your home, Gochnour said you should make sure you keep your heat above 52 degrees to prevent freezing.