Deep Freeze Leading to Frozen Pipes

Posted at: 01/02/2014 5:48 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Freezing pipes isn't usually an issue in our area until late January, but that's not the case this year. The below zero temps this week and into next week is prime weather for freezing and bursting pipes.

The recent string of cold days is only adding to the even colder temperatures expected next week.

"We really haven't had those warm days that kind of eases up on the frost line,” said Tony Benson with Rochester Public Utilities.

RPU says the underground frost lines is inching closer and closer to the water mains, and it's a little worrisome, "We're seeing it 3 and a half feet deep in the ground,” he said.

Which is unusually deep for this time of year. There hasn't been a spike in water mane breaks yet, but RPU is monitoring them closely, especially considering next week's forecast. While there's not much that prevents water mains from shifting and breaking, there are things you can do to make sure pipes in your home don't freeze and burst.

"The most common breaks are generally near exterior walls where their insulation has either degraded or fallen off or there's been cracks in the building that expose the area to cold temperatures,” said Larry Mueller, Rochester Fire Department.

We've seen it before, interior pipes bursting and turning into frozen waterfalls on the outside of homes.

"Water expands approximately ten times when it's below 32 degrees and that expansion can easily damage pipes,” said Mueller.

Which is why RPU advises homeowners to check their water temperature. If the thermometer reads below 35 degrees, “Find a faucet and run that constantly just at a slow pace,” said Benson.

Also repairing cracked windows and doors will help keep your pipes from freezing. A little attention now, could prevent a major mess in the future. After all, it’s hard enough keeping yourself from freezing.