Underground infrastructure still vulnerable as “arctic blast” thaws

Most of the country has started to thaw after arctic temperatures plagued nearly 200 million people for days. By one estimate, the so-called “polar vortex” cost the country nearly $5 billion in reduced economic activity, cancelled flights, and repairs to broken pipes and infrastructure from the Midwest to the Southeast.

Unfortunately, our underground infrastructure remains vulnerable. United Water has warned officials, residents and businesses that broken pipes and leaks can potentially become more commonplace as impending warmer temperatures move into the affected area this weekend;  a quick re-thaw of frozen pipes may cause additional water main damage.

Because water expands as it freezes, it can prevent water from flowing properly, resulting in cracks to the water line. Even the slightest change in temperature can cause sizeable ruptures. 

Our dedicated United Water crews are on call 24-7 in the event of an emergency – and they remain on heightened alert.

Customers can work to prevent such fractures and in their homes and businesses by taking precautionary measures.

  • We suggest running cold water from the tap periodically, as a bit of water flowing through from time to time will help safeguard lines.
  • Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to gradually allow warmer air to circulate around plumbing is also helpful.
  • Household plumbing, water meters and pipes located on outside walls, basements or crawl spaces can also be affected, leading to costly repairs. To prevent pipes subject to cold or freezing from cracking or breaking, wrap them in commercial insulation or heat tape available at local hardware stores.
  • If  you have a vacation planned during the remaining cold months, it is important to set the thermostat to at least a minimal heat setting in homes and businesses to help protect pipes during temperature changeability.
  • If you are uncertain about your home pipelines or plumbing system’s endurance during the winter months or weather fluctuations, contacting a certified plumbing contractor can help safeguard your home, preventing unwelcome bursting pipes and water damage.



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