Crawl Space Frozen Pipes Cause Headaches for Salisbury Tenants
SALISBURY, Md.- When temperatures dip this low it's almost a given that pipes will freeze and sometimes burst. In Salisbury, some people are experiencing problems with frozen pipes hidden underneath their homes.
An electric heater in front of the pipes under her kitchen sink is not an unusual sight these days at Stacie Ayres-Ncennis' home on Lotus Street.
"I just keep them (pipes) at a good temperature to make sure that they do not freeze again," said Ncennis.
The mom of two said that if she doesn't do that, then being without water means chaos at her home with her children.
However, maintenance expert William Joseph said that's not where the real problem lies.
He spent all of Thursday morning making rounds at rental homes where frozen pipes were hidden underneath the home.
Joseph said that if the problem isn't caught early enough, then the pipes can burst without the tenant even realizing.
"If they are not well insulated then the crawl spaces are not blocked off and air can actually move underneath the house and that's a potential for pipes to freeze up," Joseph explained. "In the evening hours just let your water run a little bit. As long as the water is moving it won't have a potential to freeze and if it's sitting still then it will freeze."
Kevin Adams, who owns some of the rental homes Joseph was attending to, said that he's had his plate full with renters calling him about same problem just about every day.
Adams said the city told him the tenants at one of his rental homes on Van Buren Street used up 867,000 gallons of water.
It's an amount that he said could end with a bill of $4,700. Adam said he doesn't think hidden frozen pipes are to blame but he also has no way of knowing.
"These are not designed to handle weather that goes below 0 degrees," Adams said. "We've had 10 houses that have frozen pipes this season that have never frozen in 15 years. Why they would freeze underneath the house this year and not last year when we had mild winter."
Adams went on to add that he hopes those in charge of finances in the city will understand that this is a crisis.
In a verbal statement to WBOC, City administrator Tom Stevenson said:
"In the event of a leak, the city offers the possibility of an adjustment to the bill. The adjustment relates to the cost associated with the treatment on the wastewater side. Meaning the water did not make its way to the treatment plant. This adjustment can only be requested once in a 3-year period and requires certain proof for consideration. I am currently looking at additional options to assist with these situations. My first recommendation would be for the property owner to contact their insurance company."