Pipes freeze on FEMA mobile homes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pipes freeze on FEMA mobile homes

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- The bitter cold is leaving many eastern Iowans without water.

Pipes can freeze when the temperature falls below 20 degrees. So, when the temperature outside is below zero, it's not hard for water pipes to freeze, especially with mobile homes.

After this year's natural diasters, more than 500 Iowans live in FEMA mobile homes. And some say those homes are not ready for the cold.

Mark and Jenna Miller of North Cedar live in FEMA homes.

Underneath the home there is just a thin piece of plastic that protects the pipes from the frigid temperatures and that's not enough to keep them from freezing.

When the pipes froze, Mark decided to fix the problem himself after being told it would take some time to fix.

"With any kind of maintenance with these trailers we're supposed to call FEMA and create a work order and get somebody out here. We basically have pretty good luck with them with other things they need to come and fix, but it sounded like they had quite a few calls when I called," Mark Miller said.

Mark Harrington is also dealing with frozen pipes. The problem started on Monday.

"I came into the bathroom and turned on the shower as we are right here and I have no hot water and no cold water hence I couldn't take a bath. Then I went and found out I had no toilet at all so I had to fill that with a bucket," Harrington said.

FEMA is getting contractors to fix the problem but say the mobile homes are safe.

"The mobile homes that we brought were rated for Iowa winters, but again the weather was so severe this past weekend that it didn't just affect the mobile home it affected the average home owner also," FEMA Spokesperson Wali Armstead.

Despite the problems, both families are looking on the bright side and are thankful for what they have.

"I said by the time they get here they'll know exactly how to fix the problem because they've done it a few hundred times," Harrington said.

The Millers were lucky enough to get mobile homes to house their large family.

"I can't imagine living in just one with three kids and two dogs. We feel fortunate. It beats the camper by a long ways," Jenna Miller said.

Only one of the Miller's homes suffered from freezing pipes. So far, FEMA has received about 100 complaints from people using mobile homes.

The Institute for Businesses and Home Safety says to protect pipes in attics and crawl spaces with insulation or heat.

And, keep the doors on cabinets under sinks open to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer 

Powered by Frankly