As dangerously low temperatures blanket the region, local plumbers are working around the clock.

"Since the weekend our techs have been working nonstop. We expect that to continue through the week," said Mike Spangler, owner of Stambaugh Plumbing & Heating in New Salem.

An arctic cold front has stretched from the Midwest through the Northeast, freezing pipes, closing schools, opening shelters and yielding hazardous weather alerts.

"The coldest temperatures in almost two decades will spread into the northern and central U.S.," according to the National Weather Service. "Combined with gusty winds, these temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chill values as low as 60 degrees below zero."

In York County, the wind chill will reach 15 to 25 below zero, according to the NWS office in State College.

That's well below what is needed to cause plumbing and heating problems, Spangler said.

Calls typically increase when temperatures reach about 20 degrees, and the region shivered through that cold last weekend.

Stambaugh received many calls for frozen water lines and problems with insulation around pipes, he said.

"It's already busier than all of last year," Spangler said.

The company is prepared to fix more problems in the coming days.

"When you start to see that cold with the high winds, that's when it really gets busy. The wind is what really causes the freezing pipes," he said.


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The National Weather Service has a wind chill advisory in effect through 7 p.m. Tuesday in York County and throughout the Susquehanna Valley.

A wind chill of 9 degrees below zero is expected through Tuesday night and could remain 6 degrees below zero on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Though Yorkers may feel a slight reprieve when temperatures increase to 18 degrees Wednesday night, that's still rough weather for pipes, plumbers said.

Heat tape should be applied to pipes in unheated areas, said Dave Shindler, sales manager at R.R. Kling & Sons, a plumbing, heating and cooling company in Mount Wolf.

To best prevent problems, the entire home or business should be well insulated if the owner wants to avoid higher costs in the long run, he said.

For example, pipes often burst because they run up outside walls that aren't well insulated, Shindler said.

"When it's this cold, plumbing and heating systems have to work a lot harder, which causes more failures," he said.

R.R. Kling & Sons has been getting most of its calls for burst pipes, ruined ducts and broken heating equipment.

"We've definitely been busier with catastrophic calls. We haven't had this kind of winter for quite some time," Shindler said.

--Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.