CHICAGO — As the region continues to thaw out from last week’s winter storms, above-average temperatures on Thursday were a more-than-welcomed change of pace for Chicagoans all too familiar with the cold.
Jay and Callie Dewitt set out to enjoy the mild weather day, ditching their coats to walk their pup, Daisy, through the neighborhood.
“It’s almost springtime, it feels like. It’s so nice,” the Dewitts told WGN News.
The memory of last weekend’s chill was fresh in many’s minds, making locals and tourists more grateful for Thursday’s toasty temps.
“It was cold. Brutal. And the wind was ridiculous, so we’re so happy to have some warm wind now it’s crazy,” the Dewitts said.
But the quick freeze followed by an unseasonable warm-up is causing major plumbing issues across the city.
“It’s been a very busy few days,” said Kyle Dooley, a service manager for J. Blanton Plumbing.
Plumbing services were flooded with calls when temperatures fell below freezing last Friday. On Christmas Eve, the 24-hour plumbing company received 300 calls about frozen pipes and customers without water. Some technicians worked 24 to 48 hours straight over the holiday weekend.
But with the warmer temperatures comes the thaw.
“Two or three days after that deep freeze, those pipes are starting to leak,” Dooley said.
Thursday morning, water leaked from a North Side property off West Peterson Avenue, one of many across Chicago where frozen pipes have liquefied.
“The issue when your pipe freezes is the ice will expand the copper and the galvanized pipe inside your home and could weaken up some of the solder joints and things like that,” Dooley said.
With many pipes leaking and others bursting, plumbers caution homeowners to run water through their lines during future cold stints.
“My recommendation, keep a faucet open, let it trickle, let the water run through your house and it should help prevent, I can’t say it’s 100%, but it should help prevent these kinds of situations from happening,” Dooley said.
Technicians at J.Blanton say it’s likely that the region is on the tail end of current thawing pipe issues. However, concerns remain that travelers returning home will encounter problems. Another flood of calls is expected.