Monday, January 07, 2013
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Are your water meter and plumbing protected from the cold?

Illinois American Water offers tips to keep pipes and water meters from freezing and breaking

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[January 07, 2013]  BELLEVILLE -- Illinois American Water reminds homeowners that now is the time to make preparations to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes and water meters, before temperatures plunge. Acting now can prevent costly plumbing repairs and frozen water meter replacement fees that can cause headaches for homeowners.

According to Karla Olson Teasley, president of Illinois American Water, although winter 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 their home," she said.

During winter weather, water meters and pipes need special care to keep them from freezing, so homeowners should take reasonable precautions to help protect their property and the water company's meter from damage.

"Weatherproofing your home against the cold will pay dividends on energy bills in the winter and will also help protect your indoor plumbing against the threat of breaks," Teasley added.

Illinois American Water encourages its customers to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of frozen water meters and pipes that can freeze and burst:

  • Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off and on. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.

  • 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 turn-off valve) and that the lines are disconnected and drained.

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  • 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.

  • Consider wrapping your water heater in an insulation blanket. While the heater is 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 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. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. For more information about the company, visit

[Text from file received from Illinois American Water]

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