Cold-busting tips to keep pipes and furnaces working
In B.C.'s current deep freeze plumbers and furnace repair technicians are a hot commodity -- kept busy with many call-outs.
Malfunctioning water pipes and furnaces can cost a lot so money to repair, but there are ways to avoid expensive visits from the repair technician in a climate that isn't used to this kind of cold.
At Burnaby's Milani Plumbing and Heating the phones are ringing off the hook with emergency service calls.
"There are a lot of frozen pipes right now. If you don't have frozen pipes yet it's not too late to look at it," said Vern Milani, whose company has received over 600 calls in the past few days.
There are several products designed to prevent pipes from freezing, said Milani.
Simple foam rubber or fibreglass sleeves to heat tape that will sense the temperature and keep it even can make all the difference.
And even though a roll of heat tape costs around $100, Milani said it is worth it.
"I wouldn't consider it expensive because at the end of the day if you have frozen pipes it's going to cost you a lot more in damage," he said.
Another pipe freezing prevention option is to drain the system using a valve on the pipes.
"If your outdoor pipes don't have an indoor shut off here's another solution, leave the tap running. Just a tiny bit is enough to keep them from freezing," Milani said.
A frozen pipe seems minor when homeowners are faced with having no heat from a broken furnace.
Furnace technician Derek Babcock has been busy because furnaces fail when they are most needed.
"When the weather gets cold I get a good 20 calls a day and I try and accommodate them as best I can," he said, looking at an old unit.
And a faulty furnace isn't just a nuisance. It can be deadly, with carbon monoxide always a worry.
"They can crack and when the fan comes on the products of combustion goes up inside the house," said Babcock.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's David Kincaid.