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Issues with frozen pipes could get worse when temperatures rise

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 11:28 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A week of at or near record-low temperatures in Kansas continues to keep plumbers busy with frozen waterlines. But with temperatures warming up into the 40s and 50s by next week, they warn that you could have a mess on your hands if your frozen water lines thaw out and burst.

Jay Loibl with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing said plumbing professionals with the company have responded to hundreds of frozen-water-line calls over the past few days. They could be even busier as temperatures rise.

“If you know you have a frozen waterline and you don’t have water as a fixture, it’s important not to just wait for it to thaw out,” Loibl said. “If it’s frozen enough, and chances are it is, once we warm up this weekend, we see temperatures rise, that thaws out (and) you are going to have a flood on your hands.”

He said the most important thing you can do if your lines are frozen is to get a plumber to your house as soon as possible and you shouldn’t leave your home until you know that your water is running properly again.

“When water freezes, it expands. It has to go somewhere and it stretches your lines out where it can’t take anymore and splits open. These won’t leak until after the water is flowing and it’s thawed out. And then, water goes everywhere,” Loibl said.

He said you should avoid space heaters to unthaw pipes unless you know exactly where the frozen line is. The best thing you can do until a plumber arrives is to turn the faucet on and leave cabinets below sinks open. If your lines aren’t frozen, continue to take precautions.

“Fifty percent of them could be avoided, especially if someone knows they have had an issue in the past. A lot of people just don’t think to leave the faucets trickling just a little bit,” Loibl said. “It doesn’t take much, but to let it trickle, the water doesn’t freeze near as quick.”

He also said to make sure you don’t have water coming from the siding of the outside of your home and to listen for water running when it’s not turned on.”

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