Monday, February 10, 2014
 
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Illinois American Water advises how to prevent damage from frozen and burst pipes and meters

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[February 10, 2014]  BELLEVILLE  Illinois American Water reminds homeowners to make preparations to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes and water meters this winter. While winter can pose many challenges to a homeowner, one of the biggest and most costly is the risk of frozen pipes.

When temperatures fall:
  • If pipes are in an area that makes them vulnerable to the cold, consider allowing a small trickle of water from both your cold and hot water faucets to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared with the cost to repair a broken pipe.

  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures.

If your pipes freeze:

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints that will leak when thawed.

  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it or by applying heat directly to the pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.

  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

To further help protect your pipes in cold winter weather, keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • 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.

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  • 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 turnoff valve), and that the lines are disconnected and drained.

  • Drain and entirely shut off 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.

[Text from file received from Illinois American Water]

Illinois American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing water or wastewater services to approximately 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 6,700 who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 14 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. For more information, visit www.amwater.com.

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