Plumbers in the Thunder Bay area are working overtime, as the deep freeze has caused pipes in many area homes to freeze.

At Larry Craig’s plumbing shop on Central Avenue, the phones have been ringing off the hook.

"In the last week, it's become above average," said Craig.

brian wiese

Plumber Brian Wiese said the cold snap has left many homeowners "unaware and unprotected." (Adam Burns/CBC)

The recent cold snap has caught some residents off guard, said Brian Wiese, who works for Craig Plumbing Centre.

"People tend to forget … this is a normal winter,” he said.

“It's just that we've had almost 10 years of mild weather. [It] kind of leaves a lot of people unaware and unprotected."

Wiese said hot tub owners need to be cautious as well, and should check every day because of the risk of cracking in the cold.

Craig agreed.

"Put your toque on, use your hot tubs,” he advised. “When you're not watching it, you could come out three days later, and something's split."

Snow helps insulate pipes

Craig said his dispatchers have been taking a lot of calls from people dealing with frozen pipes.

Larry Craig

Larry Craig, right, helps out a customer at his plumbing shop in Thunder Bay. Craig said his dispatchers have been taking a lot of calls from people dealing with frozen pipes. (Adam Burns/CBC)

"If this snow wasn't here, it would have been catastrophic,” he said.

"It would have been unbelievable. But with the snow, [it] has really kept it in line."

Before they phone a plumber like Craig, many people in Thunder Bay contact the city's sewer and water department. 

Supervisor David Warwick said frozen pipes can lead to a much bigger problem.

"A lot of times, when the pipes freeze due to the expansion of the ice inside the pipe, it'll split the pipes. So once the line is thawed, you'll have a leak inside your house, which can cause all kinds of damage inside your house."

Both Craig and Warwick advise homeowners to ensure water lines are heated or insulated.