CWLP responds to water main breaks across Springfield

Water main break along North Dirksen Parkway in Springfield (Eric VanDyke)

City, Water, Light and Power has responded to at least four different water main breaks across the city due to the extreme cold. They’ve also been received at least 60 different calls from customers about frozen water meters or frozen pipes. If you are have trouble with your water service call CWLP at 789-2323 extension 2.


When temperatures dip below the 20-degree mark, frozen water pipes can become a common problem. Older homes can easily experience more frozen water because of little or no insulation. Newly constructed homes usually have been insulated.

Here are a few precautions homeowners may take to prevent water lines from freezing as well as some action that can be taken if the pipes should burst.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

· If you have pipes that are exposed to cold air, such as in attics or crawlspaces make sure they are fitted with proper insulation or heat tape.

· Caulk any cracks or holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes. Repair any broken windows in basements.

· Close and cover exterior crawl space vents with foam board insulation for the winter (remember to re-open the vents in the springtime).

· Mobile home owners should check that heat tape is applied properly and working.

· In frigid temperatures, run your hot and cold faucets at a trickle to relieve excessive pressure, which could cause pipes to rupture.

· For sinks on outside walls, leave cabinet doors open to allow room air to circulate and warm pipes.

· Disconnect all exterior water hoses.

· If you plan to be away from your home for a few days, don’t lower the thermostat below 58 to 60 degrees. For extended periods away from home, shut off the main water valve and drain the entire system.

Dealing With Frozen Pipes

If you have frozen pipes, then you must determine the pipes that have been affected and determine the best method for thawing them out. Before taking action, you might want to consult a professional plumber.

Here are some tips for dealing with frozen pipes:

· If a pipe has burst and it is possible to reach your main water valve without standing in water, shut it off. If there is standing water or if you can’t locate your main valve, call the CWLP Water Division immediately at 789-2323 and someone will come to your home to shut your water off for you. This is also the time to call your plumber to repair the broken pipe.

· If a pipe hasn’t burst, turn on all water faucets. Pipes that aren’t completely frozen may thaw out due to the incoming water being above freezing. Leaving faucets open slightly will also help prevent pipes from breaking as they thaw.

· If you’re unsure where the frozen section of pipe may be, first warm the pipe closest to where water enters the home. This will help prevent further freezing and may quicken the thawing process.

· If you use electric heat tape, a hair dryer or other electrical equipment to thaw pipes, never leave them unattended and be careful of possible electric shock. Under no circumstance should you use electrical equipment if you or the electrical equipment will be exposed to standing water. Never attempt to thaw pipes with an open flame such as a propane torch. This may cause the pipes to

explode and could start a fire.

· If some fixtures are still able to run water, it is possible that the problem is not a frozen water pipe. In this case you may want to call a plumber.

CWLP’s water and energy experts are on hand to help you avoid problems before you need to call a plumber.

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