CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – One by one, house-by-house, water service is being restored to homes and businesses in Chicopee. Western Massachusetts has set several new low temperature records this month, forcing homeowners to crank up the heat to keep warm.
Deb Benoit said, “It’s the coldest as…that I can remember. I keep an eye on everything and try not to turn the heat down too far when I go to work for the day, so it’s not too bad when I come home.”
However, when overnight temps hover near zero for an extended period of time, pipes will freeze. Chicopee Water Superintendent Al Starzyk told 22News, “Because of the extended cold periods the frost line has dove to such deep levels and basically it’s working as a refrigerator unit to the ground, creating colder temps down to the freezing level.”
In the last two weeks, the Chicopee Water Department received more than 100 calls from homes and businesses. Their exterior water pipes had frozen, cutting off water service. It could take anywhere from just 10 minutes to several hours to thaw the frozen pipes. It all depends on the location of the pipe and how long it’s been frozen.
By Wednesday night, the wait list for thawing out the pipes was whittled down from more than 100 to fewer than 20.
Homeowners can prevent the problem by insulating water pipes in colder areas of the home, like basement, attic and under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Starzyk added that homeowners can try to prevent the problem by protecting the exterior water pipes. He said, “If you can open up the cabinets that open up to those pipes, it allows the heat to get to them. Some residents have even chosen to leave their water run a slight, slight tiny bit.”
The Water Department will get to all the homes and business on first come first serve basis.