Mechanics, plumbers busy as pipes freeze, batteries die

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The extreme cold is not kind to cars; some are unable to start, forcing drivers to find help Monday. Others saw frozen pipes, needing a plumber to get water back and running.

Bob Adams with Adams Automotive said his shop has seen more than four times its normal amount of calls for service.

“Everything slows down; the battery takes the biggest zap. Everything is a little bit colder, lubrication is tighter, the battery doesn't have the voltage it needs to start that, it's just a natural chain of events that happens when the weather gets this cold,” Adams said.

The cold weather kept cars from starting forcing many to call for rides and tow trucks to get them running again.

“Even the tow trucks have trouble. We have two of them down, one of my competitors has three down, so I know this weather is hard on all equipment, and individuals. So try to stay warm as best you can and be patient, we'll get there.”

Adams said car batteries should be checked every fall, make sure the oil has been changed on schedule and avoid extra drains on the battery.

“Things like iPods and phone chargers left in overnight and stuff, will certainly zap a lot of power away from the batteries.”

Another cold weather hazard kept Kelly Heating and Electric in Altoona busy throughout the day.

“A lot of frozen pipes,” Ryan Theiler, with Kelly plumbing sales said.

With at least 14 calls so far, compared to about one a week, plumbers have been patching up pipes that couldn't handle the cold.

“Probably the easiest thing to do is to leave some of your faucets on a slow drip or just a trickle through the night, just to keep water moving through the pipes so it doesn't freeze,” Theiler said.

“It seems like this year is a little colder, but it's Wisconsin in the winter.”

“This is what we're used to. So it's only going to last a short time, things will come around,” Adams said.

Other ways to keep pipes warm are to open cabinet doors and keep the thermostat at the same temperature all the time.

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