The temperatures in Minnesota have been rather brutal. Wind chills have approached the -50s at times with temperatures as low as -25 and, while many homeowners have pipes in their homes that are outfitted to endure the Minnesota winters, the very low temperatures that were seen in January have taken their toll.
In fact, the weather has been so bitter cold that exposed skin can be frostbitten within a matter of minutes. This is why Governor Mark Dayton declared all Minnesota public schools closed for the first time in 17 years in early January. Businesses and churches closed and community group events were cancelled because it was so cold.
But the many pipes and sewer drains caused some serious issues for homeowners and businesses. This has led to the following tips:
- The outside pipes for the furnace need to be clear of snow and ice. Any moisture can cause them to freeze up.
- If you have pipes running through your basement, turn on your basement light and walk around the outside of your house so you can see where light is shining through the foundation. This will show you that the cold air is coming in. Sealing up any cracks will result in much better temperature control and can help avoid frozen pipes in the basement.
- Many pipes run along the walls. Outer walls can become much colder than the walls throughout the rest of the home. To prevent the pipes in these walls from freezing, you can use insulating material around the pipes or you can place hay around the outside home along the outer walls.
If pipes would burst in your basement or your walls, you will need professional burst pipe repair as soon as possible. The issue will need to be secured so the pipes can then be repaired.
When a pipe bursts and water is running, it is important to shut off the water to that area or simply shut off the main so that you do not have to worry about more water flowing everywhere. Pipes that break in walls can lead to significant damage that can be very expensive. Ceilings, flooring, and walls that are affected by pipe bursts will need to be replaced.
As for water mains throughout the Twin Cities, some of them have broken and cold temperatures have been slowing down repair efforts. This has interfered with water flow to some residences, resulting in a shortage of water to some. This is just some of what is happening during one of the coldest winters on records and winter is still not over.