Frozen pipes... why your house may be more susceptible

Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - This frigid weather is causing major headaches for homeowners... As plumbers say they are responding to more frozen pipe calls than they can ever recall.

If it's any indication as to how big of a problem we're talking about... Nearly every plumbing company we called Tuesday said they were too busy to even spare time for a five minute interview... Adding their crews are at least four times busier than they've ever been in the past.

Since Amarillo isn't hit with this kind of frigid weather very often, our houses aren't built to withstand these on-going cold temperatures... Leading to the onslaught of pipe problems.

It's worse in older homes, since the pipes aren't buried very far beneath the ground.

Home builder Wayne Osteen says, "When the dirt here freezes and thaws out it pushes and squeezes the pipes underneath the house and that's what causing the pipes to bust. It's that movement of the soil freezing and thawing out, that constant action, thawing freezing, thawing freezing. It squeezes the pipe together and bursts the pipe."

The closer to the surface, the more likely a pipe is to freeze and burst.

Homes built after 2001 are in better shape... Newer building codes require the pipes to be laid at least 24 inches below the ground, as opposed to the 12 inches or less in older homes.