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Heating, plumbing companies flooded with calls as brutal cold spell continues

Union Leader Correspondent

January 02. 2018 9:49AM
The sign advertising air conditioning hanging under the old marquee at the now-closed Ioka theater in downtown Exeter describes the conditions outside as Arctic air continues to pour into the region. (Jason Schreiber/Correspondent)

 The deep freeze that’s turned New Hampshire and other parts of the country into an Arctic ice box has people like Angel Acevedo working overtime.

Acevedo, owner of LHR Plumbing and Heating in Hooksett, said that in his 16 years in the business this has been his busiest period in terms of calls for frozen heating systems and pipes.

“Busy is kind of an understatement. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s been wild,” he said.

The phones have been ringing off the hook at Roland C. Abbott Plumbing and Heating in Littleton, where temperatures have plunged to more than 20 degrees below zero for several nights.

“I have a two-page list of people to call that are waiting,” said Rachel Abbott, the company’s assistant office manager.

“This has been a really bad cold snap for a lot of people. A lot of frozen pipes and no heat. Thank God our technicians are great and haven’t given up,” she said.

Pettigrew Plumbing & Heating in Portsmouth has received about 40 calls for emergency service over the past five days.

“I don’t ever remember it like this,” owner John Pettigrew said.

Acevedo said one problem he’s seeing is homeowners with supplemental heating sources such as wood and pellet stoves who aren’t using their primary heat source the way they should when temperatures drop.

Too many people aren’t turning up the thermostat on their main heating systems, like forced hot water, because they’ve been put on the “back burner” as they try to rely more on their stoves, he said.

“Pipes that are not running at 180-degree water are stuck at room temperature and then the wind hits and it freezes,” he said.

Acevedo said it’s OK to use the secondary heat as a primary heat source when temperatures are in the 20s and 30s, but added that’s not the case as temperatures dip well below freezing. 

“Use your primary heat source as needed and use that back-up heat the way it’s supposed to be used,” he said.

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