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Clogged up: Billings plumbers kept busy past holiday season

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Jan 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-03 20:08:19-05

BILLINGS — If you're experiencing toilet troubles following the holidays, you're not alone. More visitors in homes mean more demands on its plumbing, keeping plumbing companies, such as Billings-based Air Controls, busier than ever.

Tyler Langhus has been up to his elbows in work as anAir Controlsplumber these past few weeks.

“A lot of leaks, frozen pipes,” said Langhus at the Harvest Granger apartments on the West End on Wednesday.

Langhus isn't alone.

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Tyler Langhus

“We’ve had to turn down people. You know, something happened at the last minute, and we were already full,” said Air Controls Master Plumber Jason Christoferson.

Christopherson says the incoming call volume has doubled since the holidays began.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas, everybody has all their relatives come to town and you know, you double, triple the load on your plumbing system,” said Christopherson.

He's seen it firsthand for over the past 25 years.

“People use the garbage disposal for a dumpster is a lot of it, without running lots of water. That’s some of it,” Christopherson said.

Flushable wipes are a huge culprit as well. And if you have an older home, you probably have older pipes.

“A lot of these older homes are copper pipe, and copper pipe eventually wears out,” said Langhus.

It's why many of Air Controls' clients use preventative maintenance even before the holidays begin.

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Jason Christopherson

“If you hear something, if you notice something beforehand, before it becomes a problem. That’s the biggest thing,” Christopherson said.

Especially in an emergency situation, at a time when qualified plumbers are hard to find.

“There’s more plumbers retiring than we’re putting back into the field,” said Langhus.

“So, we’re bringing apprentices in and training them ourselves ‘cuz, everybody that’s good is already working,” Christopherson said.

With colder weather still to come, they know the demand won't ease any time soon.

“We’ve been blessed with weather so we haven’t really gotten hammered with that cold snap yet, but it’s coming,” said Langhus.