Coping with the cold: how to keep those water pipes from freezing

CLEVELAND - Imagine coming home out of the bitter cold and finding out you have no heat. It is a reality for many people during this arctic blast blanketing Northeast Ohio.

"Over the last few days, really since the cold weather has come in, we've been running around the clock trying to stay on top of it the best we can," said John Langer, owner of HJACKS Plumbing and Heating. He says his employees have literally been working non-stop, fixing broken pipes and furnaces.

"The lines actually froze and when they froze, the copper pipe expanded and then when the lines thawed out, unfortunately, you now have the slit in the copper pipe and you literally get thousands of gallons of water pouring out of the copper line," he said.

The break happened inside a vacant apartment at the Loganberry Ridge Apartments in Richmond Heights. The water flooded the unit and then poured into the hallway, and that's when neighbors contacted the building's maintenance crew.

"When the temperatures really start to get cold, some of the things that we like to have our customers do is leave a little water running in the home, that's critical, whether it's a sink on a first floor, sink on the second floor, because typically running water will not freeze," said Langer.

The people who live in the unit above the vacant one are dealing with the same thing. They did not want to speak on camera, but allowed us inside to see the damage.

"If your water line's on an outside wall, like we have in this particular situation, you have to make sure that there's heat getting to those water lines, if it's underneath the kitchen sink, leave the cupboards open to get some heat in there," Langer said.

Some good advice to remember...it looks like this bitter cold snap isn't going away anytime soon.

“We really haven't had these types of cold temperatures and had to deal with these type of situations since probably 2014, 2015," Langer said.

Repair crews had to turn off the heat to about 40 residents while the lines were being fixed.