Officials urge residents to use safe methods to thaw frozen pipes

GREENFIELD (WITI) -- Water pipes are freezing all over southeast Wisconsin this winter. But there's a right way and a wrong way to thaw them out.

"There's contractors out there using various methods to unthaw water laterals some of them are the best practice and some of them are the not so best practice," said Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn.

Chief Cohn says the not-so-best practice is using welders or electricity to thaw the pipes out.

"It's really dangerous because that electricity can find other paths and some of that stray electricity has been causing some fires in residences and different types of businesses," said Chief Cohn.

Instead, Chief Cohn recommends using a steam generator. It does exactly what you might think -- generates steam, which you can safely use to thaw frozen pipes.

Changes are if you have a frozen lateral, you're not going to be trying to thaw it out on your own. If you work with a contractor, Chief Cohn recommends checking with them about how they plan to thaw the lateral before they start -- just to make sure they're using a safe method.