Frozen pipes keep plumbers' calendars clogged and backed up

Plumbers across Alabama are still working to fix pipes that cracked during the deep freeze two weeks ago.

The owner of Mr. Dan's Plumbing, Daniel Carter, said his staff is just now about half caught up on their work.

"This is actually the first day that we actually have got plumbers sitting still that don't have a job to go to," Carter said Thursday.

"That could all change tomorrow morning with the weather dropping down into the teens again."

Thursday night is expected to be the coldest so far this week and Carter anticipates more pipe problems in the coming days.

"We're all exhausted and it's something that doesn't happen often.{} It wears us down and we try to go out there and help our customersrest a second, and here it comes again.{} It's going to be tough."

Mr. Dan's Plumbing normally responds to about 15 service calls a day.{} Over the past two weeks they are taking care of 40 to 45 problems day.

Regular business hours went down the drain.{} Plumbers are working from the early morning to 10 at night.{} Sometimes that calls for a 16-hour shift, in miserable conditions.

"You're dealing with water to start off with so you're getting wet.{} You've go to wear extra clothing because of the cold.{} It restricts your movement and if that gets wet, It's tough working," Carter said.

Plumbers replaced a cracked and leaky line Thursday morning at Clara Webb's house in Oxford.{} Damage to the pipe that runs to an outside spigot required Webb to shut off the water line to her home.{} The house didn't sustain significant internal damage, but the burst pipe impeded her regular activities.

"I can go back to my normal washing, taking my bath, and doing anything I want to do.{} Hopefully," Webb said.

Consistent business is good, but Carter said Mr. Dan's Plumbing isn't making a lot of extra money.

"We really haven't.{} We're more trying to help people than we are going out there and seeing how much money we can make off of it,"

In fact, he arranged for Webb to pay her bill in February since she is on a fixed income and won't receive her next retirement check until the beginning of the month.

Carter said he hopes everyone will take precautions against frozen pipes.

"Folks, if you will, please turn your water on tonight.{} Any time it gets down in the teens, leave some water running because that's going to stop the freezing," he said.