MCKINNEY, Texas -- Plumbers were called out to pipe leaks all across the metroplex Wednesday as below-freezing temperatures began to rise back into the double digits.
"With this weather, it's just, no one knows when they're going to have a problem, you know," said Chris McCutchen, of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. "When it warms up a little bit after being cold, that's when [pipes] start to crack and break."
Calls at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing were more than double the average, with 365 calls answered by 6 p.m., according to call takers at the call center.
"This is like Superbowl Sunday. It's all hands on deck," said company president Nick Srader.
"I called at least eight to ten plumbers, all the plumbers told me they couldn't come out until Friday. Some, the earliest was Monday," said homeowner Todd Viles.
Pipes in one of Viles' tankless water heaters on an outside wall froze, and then burst Wednesday, leaving his wife's East McKinney home pet grooming business without any water.
"I had already left to pick up dogs, when I came back, there was no water," said Tobi Viles. "I had to cancel some dogs. That's Texas weather. Who knew it could get this cold in McKinney?"
The Viles used heat tape and insulation to protect the pipes, but that wasn't enough.
McCutchen suggests leaving both the hot and cold water to drip from your faucets as the best preventative measure.
"Just a nice little steady drip and you're good to go," said McCutchen. "My own faucets have been dripping for three weeks."
There are times not even that is enough.
"Homes here in North Texas really aren't built to withstand sustained temperatures in the teens," said Srader.
Srader's best advice is to leave your heat on, even if you won't be home, and keep your sink cabinets open so heat can flow to them.
Make sure to insulate any pipes that are exposed.
Check your house, just in case. You may not notice a leak until the temperatures warm even more.
If you do have a leak, you've got to turn your water off. If you have a newer home, you may be able to isolate that area. In an older home, you may have to turn off water to the entire house until you can get the leak fixed. In that case, Srader said, keep bottled water handy until you can turn the water back on.