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High demand for plumbers in the Midlands following below freezing temperatures

Kevin Tidwell, a plumber in Columbia, tells News 19 he's been in the industry for 30 years and he's never seen anything like this.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Demand for plumbers has reached an all-time high in Columbia over the course of the last few days, with pipes bursting and water heaters breaking due to the frigid temperatures.

As a result, the busy signal is something homeowners have been hearing often for the past few days while trying to reach a plumber. 

"We can't receive voicemails because our voicemail has become overwhelmed with calls, so please text all information and we'll get with you as soon as possible," said Crew Plumbing and Drain owner Kevin Tidwell.

Tidwell said he's been in the plumbing industry for 30 years and he's never seen anything like this.

"It almost feels like a hurricane or something crazy came through here," Tidwell said.

Other plumbers in Columbia and Lexington explain they've been completely inundated with calls thanks to this arctic weather with below-freezing temperatures. 

Tidwell said he's responded to calls about water leaks through ceilings, pipes freezing over and new tankless water heaters mounted outside not working.

"The new efficient ones don't come on unless somebody turns them on, but when the water freezes, they can't come on so they end up freezing up," Tidwell said.

Most plumbers in Columbia said that they're just trying to order the calls by the level of urgency. It doesn't help that supplies are in short stock too.

"I tried to stock up on material, but I've been to every Lowe's and every Home Depot and there's a certain kind of basic things like fittings and couplings and half-inch pipe that you would use over and over again to do these same type of repairs like spot repairs on burst pipes and things and almost all that equipment is totally gone," Tidwell said.

Local plumbers said it could be days or weeks before everyone's plumbing problems are solved.

In the meantime, plumbers recommend opening cabinets so the hot air can go up under sinks, keeping faucets on a drip in several parts of the house, and shutting your city water meter off with a meter key if there's water overflow.

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