Frozen pipes could burst as Minnesota begins warm-up

Nestled inside a St. Paul home built in 1925, Kathryn Wegner is relieved.

Since the deep freeze set in Wednesday morning, she and her family had been making due without running water.

“We had no water coming out of our faucets,” she said. “Maybe it was unavoidable given how cold it was given that it’s this once-in-a-generation cold weather.”

She is relatively new to home ownership.

“We expected our house to do fine because we’ve had some cold days the last few winters and we’ve never had a problem before, so I think with the really extreme temperatures, we weren’t prepared,” Wegner said.

There’s no way to tell your pipes are frozen just by looking at them, but if you touch them and they feel like icicles, that means it’s time to call a professional.

“This is the most frozen pipe calls I think any of us have ever seen,” said one professional, Matt Austin.

Austin, of Hero Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, says his company has taken more than 100 frozen pipe calls over the last two days.

So, to prevent having to call plumbers to save the day when temperatures plummet, experts have a few recommendations.

  1. Leave your water faucet at a cold trickle, especially if pressure is low.
  2. Open up cabinets on exterior walls to help keep pipes warm.
  3. Make sure your attic, basement or any crawl spaces are well-insulated.

These minor hassles now can spare residents major headaches later.

Especially considering the thaw ahead could mean a weekend of many busted pipes across the metro.

“Kind of like when you put a can of soda in the freezer to chill it, it expands, and it gets to the point that it just bursts,” Austin said.