Plumbing problems persist despite warmer weather - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Plumbing problems persist despite warmer weather

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The freezing temperatures are gone, but the problems are not. Burst pipes are causing some very expensive damage and repairs, and it's forced a lot of people out of their homes.

If you have running water and a dry home, consider yourself fortunate. Plumbers and cleanup crews are racing to recover from this week's near-record cold.

Experts say insulating your pipes and taking extra care of sprinkler systems can prevent some headaches and save you a lot of cash.

Channel 4's own Adam Wurtzel was one of many people displaced.

"I get this panicking call from my fiance that, 'Oh, my God, water is coming in from everywhere!' And a neighbor had left for Christmas and decided to turn of their thermostat completely," Wurtzel said.

The temperature inside the apartment dropped, and the sprinkler system went off. As water built up, a pipe burst.

"In my unit, water started coming in through the closets, from under the floorboards. It just sort of looked like a scene from the movie Titanic," Wurtzel said.

The damage will keep the couple out of their apartment for a month.

Dozens of people in Nolensville experienced the similar problems with their sprinklers.

"There's another six to eight houses in the neighborhood in Nolensville. We've heard about 20 to 25," said Cannon Mayes, whose home flooded.

In the last decade, the city of Nolensville made it mandatory that homes have sprinkler systems, and they've wreaked havoc in cold weather.

"This is really the fruition of one of our worst-case scenarios. To have mandatory fire sprinklers in areas that do get hard freezes, you know, this is what's going to happen, and it's going to happen over and over again," said John Sheley, executive VP of the Home Builders Association of Tennessee.

So far, calls have nearly doubled to local plumbing companies.

"Quite a lot here in the last few days, and we're still running calls on them right now," said Mike Collins, with Hiller Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.

And the calls will keep coming until people remember to protect and insulate their pipes.

The simplest way to protect your pipes is to open cabinet doors, which will keep warm air circulating through, and drip your faucets to prevent water from sitting stagnant and freezing in the pipes.

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