frozen pipe

HELENA - Frozen pipes are becoming a major issue for many home owners in Helena, forcing some to go days without running water.

However, this issue isn’t just limited to Helena.

Cities such as Great Falls and Big Timber have sent out press releases, warning residents this could very well happen in those areas; asking you leave a small stream of water running to avoid frozen pipes.

Believe it or not, this is the first time it has ever happened for many long time home owners.

“I’ve lived here for 26 years and this is the first winter it’s ever happened,” says David, a home owner in Helena.

While David has been fortunate enough to shower at his neighbor’s house, some are forced to melt snow from outside, just to flush their toilet.

According to a local plumber, the issue started six weeks ago.

The small warm front we got in late January pushed the frost deeper into ground.

Once February arrived with sub-zero temperatures, the frost continued to build on top it. 

The pipes eventually froze and for Dominic Barnes, the Vice President of 3 Brothers Plumbing and Heating, the phones haven’t stopped ringing since.

“We may get 10 customers on the average winter, so to have a 100 of those--- that’s pretty dramatic,” says Dominic.

A typical repair can cost anywhere from $250 to upwards of $6,000 depending on how long it takes to thaw the pipes out and the equipment needed to get the job done.

However, even if they manage to get your pipes thawed, there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again.

“I went to bed at 1:00 a.m, got up at 8:00 a.m. and they had re-frozen in 7 hours,” explained David.

However, with warmer temperatures on the way, there is an end in sight.

“I think the customer base has already saturated as far as the customers that are going to freeze, I think it’s probably already happened on the water service side,” explains Dominic.

He continued to explain that it’s still important to keep an eye on your roof and sewer system for signs of freezing as well.

If you do find yourself without water, Dominic says the best thing to do is stay calm, make a quick walk through your home, and call a professional. 

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