Oil companies are expecting a weekend of emergencies as sub-zero temperatures could shut down water pipes.

HOPKINTON, Mass. – Dave Buckley has been supplying home heating oil for over ten years. He expects an ‘exciting’ weekend ahead. With temperatures expected to drop Friday, Buckley expects some homeowners to be in trouble — with frozen pipes.

Buckley recalls delivering to a customer who was about to run out of oil during a cold snap. In fact, the customer has completely run out of oil. He could see Buckley going into the basement.

“Water was pouring, snow was everywhere,” he recalled. “There was about a foot of water in the basement itself.”

When the cold gets too cold, pipes freeze and burst — and the water that normally travels through them stops. That can happen when thermostats turn on and off to high and low temperatures — often to save money.

But in subzero weather, it’s a penny-wise and pound-foolish proposition, said Keith Proya, general manager of Jamie Oil Companies in Ashland.

“If your thermostat is set at 70 and you turn it down to 60 when you go to bed,” Proya explains, “during that 10-degree period, your heating system won’t be running, so you’ll have pipes with water in them. On the outside wall, where the infiltration is coming from, it’s more likely to freeze.

This weekend, Jamie Oil is staffing up and expanding hours in anticipation of home heating emergencies.

“Most of the calls we see at the moment are from unprepared people,” says Proya. “And they are the people who order oil as they wish.”

This means that the heating oil is automatically supplied.

“We have some of these people call us for last-minute deliveries,” Proya said. “If we can help them, we do. Sometimes we can’t.”

Proya Jamie has been preparing all week for this weekend’s arctic blast — making sure regular customers have their oil tanks topped up.

With the cold weather here, he advises homeowners to turn up their thermostats — and keep it cool.

“I recommend people leave their thermostats at 70 degrees,” he said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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