Weather wreaks havoc on homes

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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) -- From dangerously cold, to mild and spring-like, and back to cold. The drastic weather transition is wreaking havoc on homes throughout the Quad Cities and home repair companies have their hands full.

"We were real busy going into the cold snap, and when Wednesday hit it all spooled up, so we are just now starting to slow down," said Adam Issacson, the plumbing division manager at the Crawford Company in Rock Island.

Home repair companies like the Crawford Company say many problems were created by last week's extremely cold weather that are just now presenting themselves to homeowners during this week's spring-like weather. Those include bursting water lines, leaking roofs and overworked sump pumps.

Plumbing companies say they've taken hundreds of calls dealing with bursting water lines that were caused by last week's extreme cold.
Plumbing experts say when pipes freeze, warm temperatures can either thaw the frozen pipes or cause those pipes to burst. In either case, experts say its important to get them checked out.

"When the temperature drops that hard and that fast, the piping froze, it's kind of a 50-50 if it will break or not, and then its kind of a 50-50 if it will start spraying water at that time," Isaacson says.

Three plumbing companies who responded to TV6's inquiries reported they received anywhere from 20 to 75 calls for frozen pipes that needed to be thawed out and even more calls came in dealing with bursting pipes.

Another big problem some homeowners are facing right now is a leaking roof commonly caused by ice dams. Roofs R Us says an ice dam can occur when heat rises and escapes through poor insulation and heats up snow sitting on the roof, causing it to melt. That water then flows down the roof where it can refreeze at the edge of the roof. It then builds up and the water can leak into the roof through the shingles.

Another concern as snow melts is overworking your home's sump pump. Plumbing experts say this particular season can be tough on them since the Midwest has been experiencing very inconsistent winter weather.

Isaacson says, "We didn't really have a very hard winter until last week. It is actually worse now than if we got a couple of inches of rain in March."

Isaacson says the best thing you can do is make sure your sump pump is running. One way to do that is to open it up and make sure it is removing water. If not, pour water through it to get it to run. Finally, make sure the exit pipe is free of debris and that you can see water coming out of it.