Water main breaks, burst pipes more common with next week's warm up

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As the dangerous cold continues to grip the Chicago area homes and businesses are dealing with water main breaks and burst pipes. (WLS)

As the dangerous cold continues to grip the Chicago area homes and businesses are dealing with water main breaks, and in West Lawn that forced businesses to close Friday.

Since Dec. 27 the city has had 28 water main breaks. About half of the breaks have been fixed. Officials said cold temperatures and aging lines are to blame for the breaks.

"We will be facing more breaks. It is cold out. That's the reality of it. It's nothing that we have not experienced before," Conner said.

It's been a busy week overall for plumbers in the bitter cold. Two solid weeks of below freezing temperatures aren't just tormenting water mains, they're tormenting the pipes in people's homes.

"When it freezes it expands. When it expands you get a crack," said Rueben Rabbers, plumber with Four Seasons.

And with temperatures finally about to reach above freezing, it's about to get worse.

"The freezing is inconvenient. The thawing is destructive," Rabbers explained.

To spare your home the destruction, you just have to run the water.

"The water that's flowing wont' freeze," he said.

While the water runs, Rabber said, open up cabinets to expose more warm air to the pipes. And listen.

"If you have one faucet or fixture that hasn't been working and then it's starting to flow, listen for something or watch for something on the floor," Rabber said.

Also be aware of what's attached outside in the frigid air.

"If you go outside and you see your hose is still connected, you're probably going to have a breech in that hose next spring. Disconnect it," he said.

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As the dangerous cold continues to grip the Chicago area homes and businesses are dealing with water main breaks, and in West Lawn that forced businesses to close Friday.



Chicago water management crews were hard at work Friday morning responding to the break that flooded a stretch of Pulaski near 63rd Street.

"The crews are out there digging, identifying where the break is and as soon as it is identified we will be able to make the repair and get the water restored," said Commissioner Randy Conner, Department of Water Management.

In West Lawn crews shut off the water for the repairs. Without water, business at a nearby laundromat dried up.

"We usually have several people here but as you can see there's nobody here, so it's really affecting us," said Louie Magallanes, laundromat manager.

A beauty salon had to turn people away, even though Friday is typically a busy day.

"You need water to shampoo their hair, and without that you are not going to get their hair clean and there is no reason for them to come in," said Donna Cardi, salon owner.

The city is working to replace aging mains to reduce problems like this.

"Last year we replaced 90 miles of water main. And of those 90 miles we are noticing that, with the breaks, we are always going to have breaks but, there is a lot less now," Conner said.

"Last year we replaced 90 miles of water main. And of those 90 miles we are noticing that the breaks, we are always going to have breaks but there is a lot less now," Conner said.

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water main breakcoldChicagoWest Lawn
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