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Posted on: January 15, 2016

Public Works Reminds Residents: Beware of Freezing Pipes

frozen pipe_thumb.jpg

Extreme cold during winter months can cause pipes to freeze and break, often causing damage to homes and an expensive repair bill. Special attention should be given to water pipes and meters that are directly or indirectly exposed to cold temperatures.

Pipes and meters can break if they are in an unheated crawl space, located on an outside wall, or in unheated closets or cabinets. Residents can help prevent freezing pipes by closing open air vents in crawl spaces, removing obstacles and allowing heat to reach water meters, and add insulation around water pipes and water meters where possible. Residents may conveniently help prevent water pipes from freezing by allowing a cold water faucet to run at a trickle, approximately the width of a pencil point. Flowing water is less likely to freeze than stagnant water. The minimal cost of the water is a small price to pay to avoid potentially thousands of dollars in damage due to a broken water pipe.

Avoid turning off your home’s heat or allow your home to get colder than 55 degrees. If a home will be left unattended for an extended period of time, i.e. vacations, plan on winterizing by turning off the water supply to your home and clearing water lines of any left over water to avoid freezing. Contact a local licensed plumber for assistance.

If you attempt to turn on the faucet and experience only a small trickle or a complete loss of water, you might have a frozen pipe. You can isolate the location by opening the other faucets in your home and observing the water flow at each faucet. If every faucet is the same, you most likely have a frozen water service line (the water supply line connected to the Village’s supply pipes in the right of way). Call Public Works for this scenario.

Here are tips to help while attempting to thaw a frozen water line:
• NEVER use a blowtorch or open flame device to thaw a frozen water line. The rapid thawing and expansion of the ice can potentially explode the water pipe and cause serious injury.
• Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping the pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
• Work from the open faucet to the frozen area. This will thaw the ice closest to the faucet first allowing the water and steam to expand to the open pipe and faucet reducing any pressure buildup in the pipe.
• Keep the faucet nearest the suspected freeze area open as you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt the ice in the pipe.

Call Public Works Department at 630.620.5740 Monday through Friday, 7:30 am – 4:00 pm, or Public Works can be reached after hours via the non-emergency Police line at 630.873.4400.

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