As a frigid bone chilling winter weather system tightens its grip on Western New York, officials are warning homeowners to protect their plumbing.
Any water lines that are exposed to sub-freezing temperatures are at risk of icing up, and that can lead to serious damage, if a frozen pipe ruptures, or a homeowner tries an unorthodox method of thawing the pipe.
In an effort to thaw pipes, some people have used blow torches or other heating devices that have led to house fires.
Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo warned homeowners, if your pipes freeze, play it safe.
“Open flames for thawing your pipes–a lot of people have crawl spaces under their homes and they are tempted to do that. Once again, please refrain from doing that. We have had some very bad incidents in the past.”
Frank DiMaria, owner of Frank’s Mr. Plumber says, water sitting still in a pipe can freeze, and if the ice expands, it can rupture the water line and flood your basement.
“The water is sitting there, it doesn’t move. So the water is sitting in here, and eventually it will expand and then it will crack the pipe and put a slit into the pipe,” and once the ice thaws, DiMaria said, it will burst out of the rupture and eventually flood the basement.
Best advice for taking care of a frozen pipe? DiMaria and Commissioner Renaldo say, hire a professional. Or DiMaria said, a hair dryer might safely melt the ice in the plumbing, as long as it has not been damaged.
Experts add, the best way of saving yourself a lot of grief is preventing the pipes from freezing in the first place. Even the Erie County Water Authority has advised homeowners to allow a slow drip, which should cost customers less than a dollar a day.