Watch for pipes freezing and heaters failing during cold snap

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WICHITA, Kan. -- There's one thing plumbers and heating and air technicians can count on when the weather is about to plunge into the deep freeze. Long work hours and less sleep.

Jim Kuhn is the service manager for Roth Heating and Air. When the Kansas weather hits the single digits in December he and other techs didn't get full nights of sleep trying to keep up with service calls for failed heaters. He expects similar calls next week.

Kuhn has advise for those who don't like their heaters to fail right when they need them the most. He says "A lot of people can avoid having those unexpected breakdowns if they just have the system checked by a professional."

The one common phrase he hears on service calls is, "This never can break down on a nice day."

Kuhn says, if the heater is going to fail,chances are it'll be when you need it the most when the temperature is the coldest because that's when it's being stressed.

Plumbers know they can expect calls about frozen pipes.

Sean Beale is a master plumber with Roto Rooter Plumbers. Beale says crawl space foundations are typically plumber's biggest nightmare for freezing along with mobile homes. He says basements don't tend to have freezing issues because they stay warm enough.

Beale says, "Typically pipes don't freeze that often unless you have a direct draft on those pipes and that's where it becomes a problem. So you always want to insulate pipes and try to keep direct wind off of them."

He suggests blocking those crawl space openings even if it's with just boards.

He says the worst thing a winter vacationer can do is to turn the heat off. Turn the heat down to maybe 50, he says, but not off if you want to avoid frozen pipes.

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