LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If it seems like there have been more water main breaks lately, you aren't imagining it.
Since Jan. 1, Louisville Water Company crews have repaired 122 water main breaks throughout the service area. On Tuesday, the water company repaired another 12 pipes that have broken.
A typical day for Louisville water is repairing two to three breaks.
Kelley Dearing-Smith, a spokeswoman for Louisville Water, said it's not uncommon to see a number of water main breaks in bitterly cold weather. As the water temperature dips below 39°, the water inside the underground pipe expands and causes an increase in pressure within the pipe. When the pressure gets too high, the pipe can rupture, she told us.
The Louisville Water Company says until the water temperature leaving their plant gets closer to 39°, you could see a spike in the number of breaks.
"Even though the air temperature is warming up, it's going to take several days for our water temperature to catch up so we are expecting to have a busy week," Dearing-Smith said.
In addition to the water main breaks, crews are repairing any leaks and maintaining the 24,000 public fire hydrants in the service area.
Throughout this stretch of cold weather, here are some tips to minimize the risk and damage from frozen water pipes:
- Locate the water shut-off valve. This is the valve that controls the flow of water into the house. It's usually located near the hot water heater, in the basement, or in a utility closet. Turning off the water in the event of a burst pipe can minimize the damage. Once you locate the valve, tag it with a waterproof hanger or a ribbon. Louisville Water has free tags for customers at its corporate office.
- Open cabinets under sinks to allow heat to enter.
- Cover the vents to crawl spaces.
- Insulate the water lines in the house if they are in unheated basements or crawl spaces.
- Keep a small, continuous stream of water running from the cold-water faucet (the size of the water stream should be about the size of a pencil).