Keep an Eye on Pipes

Most children are taught at a young age never to leave the faucet running, but during times of extreme cold it may be the best way to keep your home from sustaining serious damage.

With temperatures plunging into the single digits Tuesday and Wednesday, Wheeling Public Works Director Russell Jebbia’s crews have been busy responding to calls from residents reporting loss of water service. In most cases, it turned out that their pipes had frozen.

The best way to prevent this from happening, Jebbia said, is to turn on the spigot nearest where water enters your house and leave it running through the night if the weather forecast calls for particularly frigid temperatures. For those concerned with waste or running up an expensive bill, Jebbia said it doesn’t take a lot of water flowing through the pipes to do the trick.

“All you need is just a trickle coming out … and that should help in keeping your line from freezing,” said Jebbia.

Sometimes, Jebbia acknowledged, despite a resident’s best effort the pipes will freeze anyway. He said if you wake up and have no water, call the water department so they can figure out the source of the problem.

“We really don’t want people to be tampering with their meters,” he said.

If it turns out to be your own pipes causing the issue, Jebbia again stressed it’s best to let a professional take care of it unless you know what you’re doing.

“It’s so much easier to call a plumber than to try and thaw out your pipes on your own,” he said.

Regarding line breaks, Jebbia said the last couple days have been quiet – but that could change soon, as the potential for such problems is at its greatest when the temperature moves back above the freezing point. That’s expected to happen Sunday, with the high temperature expected to reach 50 degrees by Tuesday.