The Milwaukee Post

February 01, 2019

Milwaukee Post

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By Catherine Jozwik Special to the Post Wisconsin's recent polar vortex has caused a lot of plumbing and heating headaches for homeowners. Although temperatures are expected to increase signifi- cantly this weekend, people need to be mindful of the effects freeze-thaw cycles can have on houses. Kevin Schoofs, owner of Schoofs Plumbing in St. Francis, and Bob Siepler, service manager for Oak Creek Plumbing, said the recent cold snap has spelled trouble for many homeown- ers. "We've (had) a lot of frozen pipes out there," said Siepler, a plumber with more than 30 years of expe- rience. He estimates that his business has received around 50 service calls, mainly from residential properties, over the past week, an amount higher than usual. Schoofs and Siepler said burst and frozen pipes, cou- pled with snow and ice, have caused a significant amount of damage for homeowners, including burnt-out water heaters, burnt-out sump pump motors, and even a caved-in ceiling. One family, who had left the door to their attached garage open, came home to discover broken pipes in their second-floor bath- room. "We had to go in there and replace them (the pipes and the insulation)," Siepler said. All homeowners should check to make sure the water shutoff valve works, he added. "It's an unbelievably important thing," Siepler said. If the valve is not func- tional and a pipe bursts, city workers will have to shut the water off, which can be catastrophic for homeown- ers by causing thousands of dollars of damage. Schoofs, whose father opened Schoofs Plumbing in 1962, said that, due to newer homes being "built better" and older homes implementing winteriza- tion methods, fewer of his clients have experienced total pipe freeze than in the past. However, as the weath- er warms up, people should keep a close eye on their pipes. Waiting for a frozen pipe to thaw is "almost like play- ing Russian roulette," Siepler said. "Sometimes when you get the thaw, there's a crack," Schoofs noted. To allow warm air to circulate, kitchen cabinet doors should be left open, and all items inside should be removed. Residents were in "uncharted territory" with the recent extreme cold, said Tom Uttke, owner of Uttke Heating in Milwaukee, which was was founded in 1946. Uttke said the majority of service calls he's received over the last week have involved dirty furnace filters. For maximum fur- nace efficiency, filters should be replaced every couple of months. With subzero tempera- tures, "furnace motors take a beating, but there's not much we can do about that," he added. To help furnaces run as efficiently as possible, homeowners should check exterior intake pipes for snow and ice. "Watch your outside pipes so they don't freeze," Uttke said. Also, heat should be set between 68 and 70 degrees. Leaving bathroom doors open while showering, and preparing soup and other meals on the stove allow for humid air to circulate throughout the home. Furnaces should receive an annual check-up to ensure they are operating properly, said Matthew Riebe, a comfort consultant for Brookfield company Quality Heating and Sheet Metal. "Yearly maintenance is imperative, especially with newer, more efficient and complex boilers and fur- naces," Riebe noted. Impending warmer weather will ease the bur- den on furnaces that have been working overtime dur- ing this frigid spell, he added. "This will simply make life easier for our heating and ourselves," he said. Photos courtesy of Oak Creek Plumbing A pipe burst due to freezing cold in a home in Oak Creek. Photos courtesy of Oak Creek Plumbing Snow and ice covered a water heater vent, causing the tank- less water heater inside this Oak Creek home to fail. Home repair experts offer tips 24 • Milwaukee County Post • February 1, 2019 To Receive Our Weekly Ad Online Hours: Tues-Fri 9-6pm Saturday 9-5pm 5656 S. Packard • 414-897-7737 In Cudahy 263267109 STORE CLOSING SALE STORE CLOSING SALE ——— ——— Ever Ever ything Must Go ything Must Go ——— ——— Party Goods • Tools • Christmas • Paper Products School Supplies • Food • Winter Hats & Gloves Toys • Giftware • Housewares & Much Much More 60% OFF 60% OFF Ever Ever ything ything Storewide discount does not apply. All sales final, no refunds or exchanges. Expires 2/7/19 Storewide discount does not apply. All sales final, no refunds or exchanges. Expires 2/7/19 SUPER BUYS Excludes Super Buys Discounted Already. All Sales Final. No refunds or exchanges. While supplies last. 11 Pocket 11 Pocket T T ool Belt ool Belt $ $ 3.00 3.00 Emer Emer gency gency Flashlight Flashlight 25¢ 25¢ FREE FREE Storewide discount does not apply. All sales final, no refunds or exchanges. Expires 2/7/19 SUPER BUYS SUPER BUYS SUPER BUYS Easter Egg Easter Egg Dye Kit Dye Kit 10¢ 10¢ Auto Air Auto Air Fr Fr esheners esheners Limit 25pc Storewide discount does not apply. All sales final, no refunds or exchanges. Expires 2/7/19 Extreme cold hits area homes hard

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