Frigid air could cause pipes to freeze

By Elizabeth Gentle – bio | email
Posted by Dana Franks - email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The freezing cold weather could lead to flooding. Pipes that aren't properly wrapped could freeze, shutting off water to homes and businesses.

Pipes are freezing and possibly causing damage to homes. A lot of the problem could be avoided if homeowners would take the time to protect their pipes. Once they freeze it either takes a warm up or a professional to get the water back on.

In the coldest blast of winter air this season, temperatures have stayed in the teens at night, barely breaking 30 degrees during the day.

So its no wonder plumbers are in hot demand. Pipes that have not been properly wrapped are freezing up.

"If you get frozen pipes, they aren't so easy to fix. When they are frozen they are frozen. Sometimes we have to wait it out," said Mike White with Roto-Rooter.

White was working Monday on a hydrant exposed to the elements. A few days of sitting in frigid air had literally frozen the water inside the hose and iced over the pipes.

"Water is completely on, and there's no water," said White.

White said doesn't recommend homeowners try his next step. He used a torch to heat the area around the faucet, warming the pipe.

A few minutes later the hydrant was thawed, and water spewed out.

If pipes at home freeze, White would likely use a contraption that looks like jumper cables. He hooks one end to the pipe that is frozen, turns on the machine, and in just minutes there's running water again.

White and other service technicians have been busy unthawing pipes since the cold blast. They expect it will stay that way a while longer.

"Its a matter of when it warms back up, goes above freezing before it thaws," said White.

A few good tips are to open cabinet doors on outside walls where plumbing is located, wrap pipes with insulation, and leave water running at a small stream.

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