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Keep faucets running, even as temps rise, expert urges

Crews repairing broken water main

Frigid temperatures were likely the culprit in this water main break at North Nagle and West Catalpa avenues. To water lines in your home from freezing and bursting, experts suggest leaving a thin stream of water running in one faucet. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The frigid cold is moving out but that doesn’t mean your house or apartment has fully recovered.

To avoid the nasty surprise of burst pipes, the city’s top water official is advising residents to continue to keep a thin stream of water running in one faucet for “at least another two weeks,” just to be safe.

“Because we got the extreme cold and the wind chill so quickly, there’s a deeper frost line right now,” Department of Water Commissioner Randy Conner told reporters at a news conference Thursday. “As it starts to warm up a little bit, you can start to peel back how many faucets you have on and slow the trick down.”

Connor’s department has some 600 employees out on city streets, he said.

“Our men and women are out on the street in very difficult and dangerous conditions. It is our priority to make sure they remain safe. We are not looking for any heroes out there in this situation,” he said.

Since Monday night, the department had received reports of 22 broken water mains. Crews had repaired 16 confirmed broken water mains as of Thursday morning, Connor said.