Frozen pipes shutter businesses, frustrate Winnipeggers
Extreme cold leads to frozen pipes, watermain breaks across Winnipeg
Winnipeg’s deep freeze is chilling more than just people – hundreds of frozen pipes have left businesses and homes without water in recent days.
Boon Burger, a vegetarian burger restaurant in Wolseley, was forced to close on Thursday because there was no water service to the building.
After the restaurant’s pipes froze, water stopped coming from their taps and toilets.
“Most of the [pipes] that we can see in the building are OK. I can feel the heat in this one, but the minute they sort of disappear, and they go near the exterior of the building, that’s when we run into problems,” said Tomas Sohlberg, the owner of Boon Burger.
Sohlberg said he was forced to shut down the eatery because he can’t get a plumber to come fix the problem.
Now, he’s using heaters and insulation to try and thaw out his pipes so he can open up shop again.
“We’re essentially trying to do everything we can until we sort of give up, and so we’d like to give it at least half a day to see what we can come up with,” he said.
Sohlberg's business isn't the only one affected by frozen pipes. The Lobby On York saw two pipes burst on New Year’s Eve, forcing the eatery to cancel 260 reservations on its busiest night of the year.
The problem has kept plumbers across the city hopping.
Larry Stefanec with Parson’s Plumbing and Heating said in the last day and a half, he’s taken 60 calls for frozen pipes. That number is double what the company typically sees.
“The guys are doing a lot of overtime,” said Stefanec. “I mean, we’re busy in the normal times, so this is very taxing.”
Stefanec said people can try and solve the problem themselves if the freeze is on their property, rather than the city’s.
He said using heaters or hair dryers near pipes can help, but he advised not to use blow torches.
Stefanec also said there's a simple solution to prevent the problem.
"If it's prone, maybe the line is very shallow or something, you should just run a little drip in the tap to let that flow," he said.
According to city officials, 75 people called about lack of water service on Wednesday alone. That’s compared to 90 in the entire week before Christmas and New Year’s Day.
In December, city crews were deployed to 42 homes to help thaw pipes, and another 59 are waiting for the service.