Homeowners can save themselves headaches by following a few simple steps
TRURO - There are some calls Steve MacPherson is not fond of answering. Those would be the ones in which frozen pipes cause chaos in a home when it could have been prevented.
MacPherson is owner of Kelsy's Plumbing, Heating and Ventilation in Truro.
He is reminded time and time again how the simple "common sense" practices can save a lot of homeowners headaches.
For example, if you are not going to be in a residence for an extended period of time, have someone check on your home daily. He said a split pipe due to severe winds, freezing and thawing could result in total loss if not caught.
"Sometimes there's no immediate damage and other times a house could be completely destroyed."
Just last week he was called out to a local residence that was not occupied in quite some time and frozen pipes eventually thawed, split and resulted in water in the kitchen and ultimately about four feet of water in the basement.
He's also seen complete loss due to piping issues and flooding.
"Any home can have problems whether it's a brand new home or 200 years old," said MacPherson. "There can be thousands of dollars worth of damage or $125,000 of damage. It depends on relative conditions" such as the type and age of a house, if it's finished, if there are cracks in the foundation or animals have gotten into the insulation, etc."
MacPherson said he's only responded to severe weather-related split pipes this winter about half a dozen times.
"It's been (overall) a milder winter so it's not as busy in that regard," he said, recalling a few winters ago when such intense cold and wind spells created so much business that he "couldn't keep up."
Another headache-saver is shutting off oil if it's getting low.
"If you know you are low on oil and going to run out anyway, it's better to shut the heating system off until more oil is delivered," he said. "If not, you could be tripling your cost because it caused problems (to equipment) by running out."
MacPherson also reminds people this time of year may not be the easiest time to get a quick appointment for maintenance or checkups.
"Some people wait until the winter and push their luck ... it's better to have heating system checked and serviced annually and during warmer months."
The reasoning, he said, is because business can increase quickly if severe winter weather creates splitting pipes and flooding. People who do not have a reputable contact may have longer waits during a crisis that could be avoided.