‘Big thaw’ brings high volume of service calls to C.O. plumbers, roofers; Bend Fire sees dozens of sprinkler issues

(Update: added video, comments from local roofers, plumbers, Bend Fire)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – After an arctic blast hit much of Oregon last weekend and now in major warm-up periods, several roofing and plumbing businesses in the High Desert are reporting an increase in service requests – and this includes Bend Fire & Rescue due to problems with sprinkler systems.

Carlos Simpson, the owner of Deschutes Roofing & Insulation, told us Wednesday, “The top three calls we receive are for leaks, ice dams and snow removal.”

With the major thaw/warm-up underway, local roofing and plumbing companies are reporting an increase in service requests.

For many it is the busiest time of the year.

“Lower the temperature in your house a little,” urged Nicholas Greenlee, owner of Greenlee Roofing. “A lot of people think, ‘Heat the house, melt the snow off the roof’ – but that sometimes makes the problem worse because more water is now flowing down and ice is forming on the eaves. “Or if there is a leak, it melts it into any hole or penetration it finds to get into the house.

Brian Noon, service manager at Severson Plumbing, said: “If you have copper pipes or metal pipes, we have a special machine that can run electricity through your pipes to thaw them. Unfortunately, most pipes are currently made of plastic. So you.” “We’ll play the waiting game and hope it doesn’t break.”

But it’s not just roofers and plumbers that residents use.

“I think we have about eight rigs operating today,” said Brooks Boehlert, co-owner of Servpro in Bend. “And then a few supervisors on individual rigs. We had crews today in Madras, La Pine, Bend, Redmond – we have a crew out in Sisters so it was pretty busy.”

Bend Fire & Rescue has now responded to dozens of fire and other alarms, most involving frozen or broken sprinkler pipes. Here is a report from Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering:

“Over the past four days, since the start of the cold weather, we have responded to 36 commercial alarms due to sprinkler systems freezing and breaking. This does not include the response of private households to freezing and breaking of household pipes (thereof). there was also a considerable response).

“We often experience freeze and break situations in businesses that have had work done that has moved insulation in attics or walls, in businesses that are not testing and maintaining their sprinkler systems in accordance with fire codes, and in businesses or homes that are unoccupied and the heat is not maintained at a sufficient level.

“Whether commercial or residential, the first thing you need to do is understand the systems in your business or home. Know how they work and how to turn them off in an emergency. This applies not only to plumbing and fire sprinkler systems, but also to gas and electrical systems.

“Consider installing temperature sensors in attics and voids where there is a risk of freezing. Consider conducting an energy audit to determine if your insulation is adequate, especially in these hidden areas.

“For domestic water systems where there is a risk of freezing, ensure sufficient heating levels in the home if possible. Make sure garden hoses are disconnected and external faucets are protected. “Insulate the pipes in your home, seal any air leaks and open the doors to closets where plumbing is located and open faucets slightly,” Kettering said.

Noon told NewsChannel 21, “The best thing you can do this time of year is to leave your cabinets open and at least one faucet slightly open. And that prevents you from getting thousands of dollars in damages.”

Greenlee added, “But you should also take a look at your outside edges and your floor along the walls. Because it often happens that water drains, hits a deck and comes back in under a roof door, under a jam.”

For example, according to the companies, you can leave a faucet dripping, use a snow rake to remove stuck-on snow from your roof, and call a professional if you think the job is too big to avoid the problem being big, to come to terms with it yourself.

Simpson explained, “Your roof is designed to handle a significant snow load. So don’t be desperate and don’t try to jump on your roof and take it off yourself. I’ve seen a lot of people get hurt doing this over the years.”

Boehlert added some tips: “Simple things like disconnecting outside hoses, putting hose bib covers over outside faucets. Make sure your crawl space is ventilated and install blocks as the winter months begin.”

Bend Fire & Rescue says if you have a sprinkler system at your business, it must be inspected, tested and serviced annually by a qualified company.

Any area where water or fire lines are located must maintain a temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as most breaks occur when temperatures drop below that.

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