“Following last year’s harsh winter, we want to remind customers
that sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period can cause
pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze and burst and result in costly
damage,” said Illinois American Water President Karla Olson Teasley.
“By taking the proper preventive steps, customers can avoid worrying
about frozen pipes and making expensive repairs to damaged plumbing
inside and outside of the home.”
Property owners are responsible for maintenance of the water service
line from the curb to the house, as well as any in-home piping.
Illinois American Water encourages residents to take the following
precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes.
Before frigid weather sets in:
- Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a
pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
- Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with
insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire – follow
manufacturer instructions closely to avoid a fire hazard.
For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly
and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation,
so don’t disturb it.
- Know which areas in your home, such as basements, crawl
spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to
- Eliminate cold air sources near water lines by repairing
broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and
eliminating drafts near doors.
When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:
- Allow 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 to the
cost to repair a broken pipe. Customers should also consider
a wise water use practice and collect the running water for
- Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room
temperatures to help keep them from freezing, although be
careful to not create a tripping hazard.
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If your pipes do freeze:
- Shut your water off immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw
frozen pipes unless the water is shut off, as freezing can often
cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
- Apply heat to frozen pipe by warming the air around it or
applying heat directly to the pipe. You can use a hair dryer,
space heater or hot water. Be sure to not 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.
If you are going to be away from your home for more than a
- Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your
property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes
have not frozen.
- Also, a freeze alarm can be purchased for less than $100
and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside
temperature drops below 45 degrees.
In addition to pipes indoors, customers can help protect
their own and their neighbors’ homes by keeping fire
hydrants clear of snow. Substantial snow accumulations
combined with the after-effects of plowing roads and parking
lots can leave fire hydrants partially or completely buried
in snow. Clearing hydrants can help firefighters easily
locate them and access water quickly, saving valuable time
to possibly save lives and structures.
Also be sure that your water service provider and other
utility companies have the correct phone number to reach you
in an emergency. Illinois American Water customers can
manage their account information online at My H2O Online.
Customers should also consider following their utility
service providers on social media as well, to get the latest
updates on their computer or smart phone. For more tips and
[Karen Cotton, Illinois American
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 and/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 6,600 dedicated professionals who provide drinking
water, wastewater and other related services to
approximately 14 million people in more than 40 states, as
well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by