Emergency Frozen Water Pipes
In an emergency with a frozen water pipe (or worse–a busted water line)? Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air is here for you.
Frozen water pipes
Busted, burst, or split water pipe repair
Frozen or broken boiler pipes
Burst water pipe leak detection
Emergency water pipe repair
Emergency Contact Information
We are open to take emergency calls for frozen or burst pipes from 7:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday and 8:00am to 12:00pm Saturday.
If you are experiencing a freezing pipe emergency during normal business hours, call our office at 262-367-3808.
Looking for an emergency plumber after hours? Here is how we can help.
3 Emergency Action Steps To Follow If You Have An Active Leak or Burst Pipe
City Water: If you’re connected to a municipal water supply, the main shut-off valve is located right above the water meter for your home.
Well Water: If you have a private well, the main water shut-off valve is located on the piping by your pressure tank. (If the main valve does not work, you can also shut off the power to the well pump.)
PRO-TIP: If you’re a customer of ours, look for a bright green or white valve tag. Team Austin always marks the emergency water shut-off valve this way.
In cases of frozen pipes, don’t delay. Call our main office at 262-367-3808 to book a service ASAP.
If you’re experiencing an after-hours emergency due to a frozen water line or burst pipe, you can see and book real time after-hours service calls 24/7 using our scheduling tool.
Active water leaks are highly stressful because of the damage they can cause to your home. Even after shutting your water off, if insulation and drywall got wet during your emergency situation, water may continue to drip through. Try these professional tricks for water damage control:
- Poke holes in wet drywall to give the water a controlled place to escape.
- Turn up the heat in the home so that pipes can thaw faster.
- Run a box fan in the flooded area to begin drying the space.
- Use a pot or other bucket to collect water dripping from the ceiling, or use a shop-vac to help draw stray water out from underneath cabinets or damp carpets.
PRO-TIP: Even after the water is shut off to your home, it’s normal for water to continue to drip out of saturated drywall or other parts of the house. To avoid damage to floors or other surfaces, be ready with a container that you can use to catch the residual water as it collects.
Burst Pipe Emergency Prevention Guide for When You Have or Suspect a Frozen Pipe
Dealing with a possible frozen pipe? Learn how to keep it from bursting by reading on.
Pipes that have frozen are at high risk of bursting.
What we call a “frozen pipe” is actually the result of water frozen inside the pipe.
When water freezes in a pipe, it causes the pipe to expand rapidly. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the wall of the pipe from the inside, which can cause the water line to split, break, or rupture.
As long as it’s frozen, water won’t leak out of a burst pipe. But as soon as the pipe thaws and the ice blockage melts away, water will begin to flow freely and at full pressure from wherever the pipe is split open. That’s when the situation truly becomes an emergency–and that’s what you want to avoid at all costs.
Turn off water to the house in order to prevent flooding.
Don’t simply wait for your frozen pipe to thaw. It’s extremely important that you minimize the chance of flooding now, before it has a chance to occur.
Since the pipe is already frozen and may be broken, the best thing to do with a frozen water line is to treat it as though it has already burst, just in case it has. If it hasn’t, these steps won’t harm it:
- When you don’t need to use water, turn off all water flow to your home entirely.
- If you have to leave the house for any reason during a frozen pipe emergency, make sure the water is completely shut off before you leave!
How to thaw-out your frozen water pipes:
There are various methods used to thaw frozen water lines safely, but you should still use caution while performing any of these thawing methods. The application of heat, for example, can be dangerous and should not be attempted unless you are familiar and comfortable with the risks.
Below is one pipe-thawing method that everyone can safely attempt at home.
Let the cold escape: Most water lines in Wisconsin freeze because cold weather is able to penetrate an area that would normally be heated. Once the cold has infiltrated, it can’t easily escape. When this happens, what used to be a warm wall turns into a freezer, endangering any nearby piping.
Based on the different areas pipes normally freeze in Wisconsin homes, we recommend fighting cold air infiltration with the following steps:
- Open cabinet doors.
- Remove the trim plate from the bathtub/shower.
- Turn up the house’s heat from your thermostat.
- If you have a finished basement, remove the ceiling tiles temporarily.
How to tell if you have a frozen pipe
Assuming extremely cold weather*, if you don’t have running water at a particular fixture in your home, but you do have running water in other parts of your home, frozen water pipes are a real possibility or, at best, an imminent danger.
*Causes of poor water pressure & no-flow issues during the warmer seasons are not covered in this article.
What factors can cause pipes to freeze in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin homes are built to withstand the extreme temperatures common to our state. Because of that, many plumbing systems remain freeze-free even when outdoor temperatures are well below freezing.
However, there are some other factors that can threaten your already-vulnerable pipes during times of severely cold weather. Here are just a few:
- Driving winds
- Piping installed in soffits
- Piping near outside walls in finished basements
- Sink-feeding piping that runs in or near outside walls
Of all the above factors, though, the first is definitely the most serious. Without wind, pipes rarely freeze in Wisconsin homes. The presence of strong winds, on the other hand–especially during a blizzard–can absolutely cause your pipes to freeze.
How to prevent pipes from freezing
If your home has a history of certain pipes or fixtures freezing up, and you suspect severe weather is on the way, take these preventative measures:
- Leave a faucet drip. (Before you do this, make sure the drain is flowing well.)
- Open up cabinets. Remember, most pipes freeze because the cold air that is getting in from outside finds itself with nowhere to go once it’s in your house. Strategically let it out and it will naturally be replaced with warmer air over time.
- Turn up the heat. In specific conditions, certain pipes tend to freeze no matter how warm it is inside the house. However, keeping the house a bit warmer can still go a long way to reduce chances of freezing.
Is a frozen pipe the same thing as a broken pipe?
No. If a pipe is frozen, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s broken. In fact, we have clients that have the same pipe freeze every year but never break–while others that have a pipe freeze for the first time will unfortunately end up with it splitting wide open.
Bad luck happens. During extreme low temperatures, all you can really do is take the risk of breaking very seriously in order to avoid it as much as possible.
Your ER Pipe Questions Answered: Everything You Need To Know About Frozen Pipe Repair Services
For a number of reasons, it’s actually better to wait for normal business hours to address your burst (or frozen) pipe emergency.
An after-hours service can cost $600-$1000 more than it would during normal business hours.
Unfortunately, the answer to this is no. Our team members rely heavily on each other, not to mention our vendors and suppliers, to provide the resources we need to deliver our pipe repair services to you. Many of these resources are simply not available after hours.
Why you may be better off waiting until we’re open to handle your burst water line:
Did you know that most after-hours emergency repair attempts need to continue into the next normal business day? It’s true. Moreover, what starts out as a burst-pipe concern may reveal itself to be a simple frozen-pipe situation that can be thawed over the course of the following day.
Even when home water usage is extremely limited, we find that most customers given this information choose to wait a day to schedule a service. That way, they can take advantage of the following benefits:
Dispatch fees for after-hours plumbing emergencies–including frozen or burst pipe repairs–can be around $700 just to get a technician to your house. And if that tech isn’t able to fix the problem after all, you’re out of luck until tomorrow!
Factor in average overtime fees–not to mention the actual cost of the repair service!–and that price can blow up easily into the 4-digit zone. Remember, this is all for the same service that may cost you thousands less if purchased during our normal hours of operation.
Certain pipes require special fittings and other materials that the on-call technician simply doesn’t have at his disposal (especially not overnight). He also may not have the specific skill set required to handle your emergency. By booking a service for normal business hours, we’re able to send you the best technician for the job, fully equipped and prepared to resolve your burst pipe situation within one single visit.
Due to factors like parts availability, tech support live hours, and so many other considerations, the most we can usually do after-hours is assess your piping emergency. Any repairs to pipes or water lines will probably have to be scheduled for when we reopen and have resumed normal operations.
Coping with burst pipes and no water: After-hour alternatives to having a 24/7 emergency pipe repair service
Lean on family, friends or neighbors for temporary use of their plumbing system if you cannot use water to cook or bathe at home.
Take advantage of the showers and restrooms at your gym or athletic club.
Turn your lemons into lemonade. Load up the family and head to a hotel for the weekend. Chances are, the cost of a hotel room will be far less than the after-hours dispatch fees charged by your emergency plumber.
Booking after hour 24/7 Burst or Frozen Water Pipe Service with Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air
Team Austin offers after-hours services for water leak emergencies. Read on to learn more!
After-hours service appointments are limited. If there aren’t any open slots when you check, then we suggest you book the next available appointment–even if that means waiting 1-2 days.
Remember: It is virtually always better to wait 12, 24 or even 36 hours for one of our experts to attend to you than to solicit companies who offer no guarantee of success for exorbitant fees.
After-hours dispatch fees are charged on every service call dispatched outside our posted business hours, regardless of external factors or circumstances.
All warranties made by Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air are valid during normal business hours only. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to you.
If there is an issue you believe is under warranty or related to recent work, and it’s not something that can wait for normal business hours, we are happy to come out after-hours (subject to availability). However, please keep in mind that dispatch fees will apply and an immediate solution is not guaranteed.
Can Austin reimburse me if I have to go to another company for after-hours repair work?
If our schedule is full, and you have an issue you believe is under warranty or related to recent work that cannot wait, please go ahead and call another company who can attend to you faster.
If management determines that the above conditions apply, Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air will reimburse you for up to $250 of the after-hours repair cost you were made to pay in our absence.
To claim your reimbursement, please contact us during business hours and ask for a manager to help you submit your after-hours invoice. It pains us to be busy when you need help–this is our way of easing your burden even when we can’t be there.
If you need 24/7 ER service for your water heater, you can always check our availability online, which is constantly being updated. Click here to book a service in real time.
Why Use Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air?
- Fast Turnarounds- Fully stocked trucks & warehouse. We carry every pipe fitting imaginable, so we’re able to make most water line repairs on the first trip.
- Full Transparency With Pricing- You get an upfront bottom line price before the work begins.
- Expert Plumbing Techs- Our emergency plumbers are standing by to help.