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As Temperatures Rise, Frozen Pipes Could Begin To Leak

(CBS) -- Chicago's very cold weather brings problems, like frozen pipes, but higher temperatures forecast for next week could bring even worse problems: messy leaks.

By the end of the business day Thursday, Midway Building Services operations manager Bob Maroney had heard from about 60 buildings, including a lot of high-rises with frozen pipe issues.

Maroney's company is in charge of cleaning up after the pipes thaw, and leaks begin.

"As the temperatures rise, either they're going to have no issues, or where there's a crack in the pipe - as the water thaws through it - it'll become a leak," he said.


Midway Building Services cleaned up a sprinkler pipe break and leak this past November at a downtown hotel, where more than 120 rooms were damaged.

"Water was everywhere," he said. "It was organized chaos."

The next several days might be anxious ones for building owners and tenants, worried because possibly frozen pipes might leak when the temperatures rise.

"Next week's going to be really busy when this stuff starts thawing out, because a lot of people don't know their pipes are frozen right now," Maroney said. "A lot of time, they don't use the water lines or the sprinkler lines aren't active so they don't know they're frozen."

Interestingly, hot water lines freeze before cold water lines, according to Maroney.

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