Mark LeChevallier, Ph.D., director of innovation and environmental
stewardship for American Water, stresses that it's important to make
preparations to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes
before temperatures plunge.
"Although the winter season can pose
many challenges to a homeowner, one of the biggest and most costly
is the risk of frozen pipes. When ice expands inside pipes, it can
crack and burst the pipe, leaving homeowners with a costly plumber
bill and thousands of dollars in damages from water leaking inside
the house," he explained.
According to LeChevallier, winterizing is just as important for
homeowners in parts of the country that experience only periodic
freezes as it is for those in traditional cold-weather states, since
home construction in southern locations will sometimes include pipes
in unprotected places without insulation, including crawl spaces,
and these can be particularly at risk.
Luckily, these problems are preventable by evaluating areas of
vulnerability throughout the home. Implementing the following
American Water winterization tips now can help avoid headaches
Search your house
for uninsulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Consider
wrapping pipes with electric heating tape, but follow
manufacturers' instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
Seal cracks and
holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking, especially
where cable TV or phone lines enter the house, to keep cold
winds away from pipes.
If your home is
heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them
slightly. Close them when water appears.
Make certain that
the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a
shut-off valve) and that the lines are drained.
[to top of second
Drain and shut off
entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer
or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could
cause pipes to freeze. If you intend to leave a property
entirely without heat, be sure to drain all water to prevent the
possibility of frozen pipes.
Set the thermostat
at 55 degrees if you’re going out of town. Although you may be
able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is
considered to be safe for pipes.
your water heater in an insulation blanket. While not really at
danger for freezing, this can lower your heating bills.
Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE:
AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state,
providing high-quality and reliable water or wastewater services to
more than 1.2 million people. American Water also operates a
customer service center in Alton and a quality-control and research
laboratory in Belleville. Founded in 1886, American Water is the
largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company.
[Text from file received from
Illinois American Water]