It's an unusual result of the pandemic, but local plumbers like Steve Dodd have seen a huge uptick in calls now that everyone’s home due to COVID-19.

"[It's] primarily with drain issues, drain lines being backed up and clogged due to the sanitary wipes and baby wipes and things of that nature they're using, and flushing down the extra thick toilet paper," said Dodd, owner of Steve Dodd Plumbing and Heating in Middletown.

What You Need To Know

  • Plumber Steve Dodd says sanitary wipes are a leading cause of clogged drains in residential homes

  • Dodd says when temperatures drop and it gets windy, it's important to keep your heat high to prevent freezing or burst pipes

  • Also make sure to keep your sink free of grease or oil after cooking, as it's another leading cause of clogged drains

At the beginning of the pandemic, people were cautious about calling plumbers to their homes.

"But then it picked up shortly after that with people being home, and since then, it's been increased by at least 20 percent, 25 percent, with just emergency work, service work with backed up drain lines. People are working from home, so they hear of a problem that they weren’t aware of before," said Dodd.

The main culprit? Those so-called "flushable" wipes.

"People using the sanitary wipes and flushing them down. Don't flush them if you're going to use them. Just throw them in the garbage and get rid of them that way. They just don’t go through the drain systems," said Dodd.

And with so many storms this winter, he’s also seen an increase in emergency calls for frozen and burst pipes.

"When the temperature drops down in the teens and the wind primarily is blowing, that’s when we have a lot of problems with frozen pipes, and at that time, people should turn up their heat a little bit more instead of turning it down," said Dodd.

Technician Tyler Flynn says emergency calls are common these days.

"When you're in your home for that amount of time all day, for some people, you become more tuned into these things. The extra usage also, I think, plays a big part in it," said Flynn. "The extra usage of people just being home and kids are home from school, parents home from work. I know they're not having many visitors, but that over usage can definitely cause problems."

Their best advice: Don’t try to fix it yourself. Call the experts before a small problem becomes a crisis.