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Public Safety Reminder: Take Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing this Winter

Glencoe-Public-Safety-LogoPublic Safety Reminder: Take Steps to Prevent Pipes from Freezing this Winter 

The Public Safety Department has been responding to a number of incidents involving busted pipes, due to the severely low temperatures this winter. While Public Safety does respond to busted pipes to help mitigate the situation, please do your part this winter to prevent your pipes from freezing. 

Why Pipes Freeze:

Water expands as it freezes and this puts great pressure on all pipes. Regardless of the material a pipe is made of or how strong it is, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes exposed to severe cold are the ones most likely to break. These include outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines, water supply pipes in unheated areas like the garage, the attic, kitchen cabinets, basements and crawl spaces. Pipes on outside walls may have little or no insulation.

 Preventing Frozen Pipes:

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply pipes in them.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to get near the plumbing.
  • Running a trickle of water through faucets that connect to pipes in unheated areas can help prevent freezing.
  • During severe cold, keep thermostats set to the same temperature day and night. If you go away, keep your thermostat set to at least 55°F. 
  • Insulate pipes with products specifically made to insulate water pipes. Consult with a professional if you don’t know how to do this.
  • Know where your main water shut off valve is in your house, so if a pipe does burst, you can quickly stop the damage. Find this valve and learn how to use it before you need to.
  • Get more tips from the American Red Cross here
If Your Pipes Do Freeze:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water as this increases the chances of electrocution. 
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Should you need assistance with this, please call Public Safety at (847) 835-4112.


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