Dropping temperatures keep plumbers busier than ever

Richard Theilmann described it as a waterfall.

“My wife and I came home around 9:15, and we heard this water sound,” he told Fox 9, the morning after a pipe burst in his basement.

Theilmann, like many other home and business owners, are getting sick of the cold, and the toll it is taking on minds, cars and homes.

In the past two weeks, frozen pipes have become a major problem for homeowners in the Twin Cities. The frigid temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and bust, leading to thousands of dollars in damages. And, even if you know a great plumber, likelihood is they’re already on another call.

“I think we called 3 or 4 different plumbers, and they were all busy or didn’t answer” said Theilmann. “Finally, at three a.m., I had a plumber come out.”

Theilmann and his wife came home on Friday night to see gallons of water cascading into this Wayzata home. A frozen pipe had burst in the ceiling.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I was shocked,” he said. “We had just done some remodeling down there about three or four years ago.”

Theilmann managed to turn off the water to his house, but the damage was done.

Hours later, a restoration team brought in heaters and fans to dry the area out.

“The cold air was coming through this area and making contact with these water pipes,” Dustin Mix explained. Mix is with Tiger Plumbing Heating and Air.

Mix said he’d been putting in more than 15 hours a day for the past two weeks to respond to repairs.

After all that practice, he now has advice for homeowners.

“If you are going to leave home for an extended period of time, just shut the water valves off, and don’t set your temperature too low,” said Mix.

As for Theilmann, he’s just thankful he made it home when he did.

“It could be worse,” he told Fox 9. It could have been that we took off for the weekend. Or took off to Florida and come back to a monstrous flood in the basement.”

During extremely cold weather, the American Red Cross encourages people to let their faucet run at a trickle overnight. The moving water will help prevent pipes from freezing.