GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Water pipes are cracking, freezing, and bursting across the Triad. People are waking up to cold weather problems, including no hot water and heat.
Will Daniel, the owner of Independent Plumbing, has fixed problems at dozens of houses and apartments in neighborhoods all over Greensboro this week, most of them caused by the rapid drop to below-freezing temperatures.
“All systems are working harder when it’s cold," he said.
Daniel says older buildings are more susceptible to the bitter cold.
“When it’s cold like this multiple days below freezing and not getting above freezing, that cold just creeps in," he said.
But it can damage new construction too.
“It can be all over," Daniel said. "I was at a home the other day where it was a new home, a nice home, but one little piece of insulation came down and a draft was getting in there, and it froze her hot shower pipe.”
Greensboro businesses are also seeing the effects of the cold. Club Fitness at Oak Branch temporarily shut its doors earlier this week after the building's pipe burst and damaged the heating system.
“It just started getting really cold, and as the day went on, it got colder and colder, and before we knew it, we had lost about 80 percent of our heating capacity," said Stefanie Seligman, a personal trainer at the gym.
They hope to have the gym back open by early next week. In the meantime, Club Fitness members are using the Green Valley facility for more than just exercise.
“I’ve heard several people say that they’ve had heating and air conditioning issues, that they’ve had pipe issues, so they’ve come here to get that daily shower in," Seligman said.
Seligman is feeling the effects of the cold first-hand.
“My heat pump actually went out on Monday night, so as we speak, I’m having two-and-a-half ton HVAC put in my home," she said. “It was just that it was so cold and it just kept running and running, so I’ve been taking my showers here!”
Daniel says the problem comes down to our infrastructure, which isn't meant to handle extreme cold for extended periods of time.
“North Carolina systems are set up for a low of about 18, and when it gets down into the single digits or 10, 13 degrees, this heater’s working harder, this [water heater] is working harder," Daniel said.
To prevent these problems from happening to your home, Daniel suggests trying to prevent your systems from working harder than they have to.
Change your filter to keep your heater working efficiently and keep your faucets dripping overnight.
"For as little water as it uses, and the convenience it can keep you, when you run out of hot water, or any water for that matter, it's a major inconvenience, and it costs pennies on the dollar to just drip faucets for the night," Daniel said.
Daniel says it really can prevent your pipes from freezing over and it will save money in the long run, compared to what you could pay if your pipes burst.