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Warmup means plenty of burst-pipe calls for plumbers

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 08. 2018 11:12PM
Work continued on Monday fixing a water main which broke on Sunday morning on Lowell Street at the Jane Street Intersection. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Warmer weather this week is expected to lead to more burst water pipes.

“Friday is going to be crazy,” said Cristine Burke, co-owner of Burke Emergency Restoration in Manchester.

The cleanup and restoration business got 13 calls between Sunday night and early Monday afternoon, compared to three on a typical winter’s day.

“With the temperature rising at the end of this week, we imagine it will be that much worse,” Burke said.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the 40s Thursday and to top 50 degrees Friday in the state’s southern tier. Parts of the North Country could hit the 40s both days.

“What happens, the pipes are now frozen,” Burke said. “When the outdoor temperature rises ... everything in those walls warms up. The pipes, which have been constricted and frozen, now expand and burst.”

At LeBlanc’s True Value Hardware in Manchester, employee Rick Blanchette said people bought out the store’s supply of heat tape.

“Now, we’re selling portable heaters for rooms where pipes are frozen,” he said.

People also are buying pipe cables, which you wrap around pipes and plug into an outlet to thaw the pipes.

A burst pipe often comes as a surprise.

“A lot of times you don’t know until you warm up,” Blanchette said.

Hampton Fire Chief Jameson Ayotte said 13 sprinkler systems have experienced issues since about Christmas time.

“Some of them are burst pipes,” he said, but no major damage was reported.

“With the cold we had ... there’s still a lot of ice in the system,” Ayotte said. “Once it starts to thaw and water starts to flow, that’s where they see where the real leaks are.”

Burke suggested people should call a company to clean up water-damaged ceilings and carpets or risk mold growing.

“More often than not, it’s usually a covered loss” by insurance, but policies differ,” she said.

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