Cold weather could mean frozen pipes

Posted at: 01/11/2013 5:44 PM
Updated at: 01/11/2013 6:12 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The frigid cold weather could leave many people with frozen pipes. And if they freeze and then burst, people may find themselves thousands of dollars in the hole.

Water utility crews responded to a number of problems across the city last weekend, and they are bracing for even more.

Frozen pipes can be an expensive nightmare to fix but are also one of the easiest things to prevent.

David Morris, Public Affairs Manager of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, said the simplest thing people can do is leave their faucet at a drip or slight trickle of water, and leave sink cabinets open so warm air can circulate around the pipes.

Extra crews are on duty and people are on-hand at the Water Utility Authority dispatch center for those who run into a water emergency.

"What would happen if my pipes froze, I think that's a very good question," one woman asked. Earlier this week, crews responded to more than 240 calls.

That is more than three times the water utility's normal call volume.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 went out with a crew as they fixed frozen meters and pipes across the city earlier this week.

"Worst case scenario is you get a pipe inside your house that freezes and because it freezes the water expands, pressure builds up, pipe bursts, then when it thaws out, your house floods and you've got tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage," Morris said.

"I've had it happen once or twice," one woman said. "We have them wrapped now."

"Last year when everyone's pipes froze mine did not, so whoever had built the house made sure it's pretty well covered," Michael Den Bleyker said. "But last weekend, my neighbor had frozen pipes, so it is an issue." Den Bleyker said, his neighbors showered at his place until they got their pipes fixed and water back - a favor he hopes will never have to be returned.

"Now, I have a little bit of a thank you coming back my way if something happens," Den Bleyker said.