Cities working to fix frozen water lines, pipes

BELLEVILLE, IL (KFVS) - During the freezing cold winter months, water pipes and lines can easily freeze and burst.

Those are just some of the problems early this winter in Carbondale and even in Murphysboro.

"We see this anytime there is a swing in temperatures whether it be quickly getting really cold or quickly warming up," said Murphysboro Mayor Mike Stephens. "This is something that happens mostly due to old infrastructure."

The mayor said the city will restore the lines as quick as possible.

South Rawling Street in Carbondale in closed due to a water line break. The plumber will be out first thing Wednesday morning.

These extremely low temperatures are causing plumbing companies to be inundated with calls.

People's pipes are freezing over – and so are the water main lines.

Murphysboro has four water line breaks  which affected many of the residents

One resident noticed it last night when nothing came out of faucet for 5-6 hours

Chris Janet with Dutch Enterprises gives some more tips many don't always think about.

"If you have piping along an outside wall if that's in a space that's not conditioned, in other words, if you aren't heating that area some of the things that people can do is make sure that these copper pipes or plastic pipes are well insulated," said Janet.
He said insulating your pipes is an easy project that doesn't break the bank.

"You can go to a local hardware store and you can buy split insulation it's very simple to wrap around the pipes that are exposed to cold air," he said.

Janet said to unhook any hoses from outside spickets,  that's one of the most common reasons for bursted pipes.

"The problem is, when you do that and water is left in the hose it doesn't give the freeze-proof hydrant time to drain so eventually it will freeze back into the house," Janet said.

It is important that everyone in your home knows where your main water valve is in your house.

"You can prevent major damage in your home, if once you realize you have a water leak, immediately you go and turn off the main shut off," he said.

Here are some tips:

  • Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
  • Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
  • Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation so do not disturb it.

When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:

  • If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
  • Illinois American Water also encourages customers to capture the water for wise water use. The water can be used to water indoor plants and more.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

If your pipes freeze:

  • Shut off the water immediately. Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

When you are away:

  • Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
  • Also, a freeze alarm can be purchased for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.

More tips can be found at

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved.