Illinois American Water’s Vice President of Operations Barry
Suits said, “This last winter was one of the coldest on record in
Illinois. It serves as a reminder for completing important cold
weather preparation. A few simple steps taken this fall can help
prevent costly repairs this winter.” Illinois American Water offers
these tips to help customers prepare before cold weather:
- Search your house for un-insulated pipes, especially in
unheated areas. Consider wrapping pipes with electric heating
tape, but follow manufacturers' instructions carefully to avoid
a fire hazard.
- Know what areas are vulnerable to freezing, including
basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls.
- Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing
broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and
eliminating drafts near doors. Seal cracks and holes in outside
walls and foundations, especially where cable TV or phone lines
enter the house, with caulking to keep cold winds away from
- Check sprinkler or irrigation systems. Turn everything off
and fully drain the system. Also make certain the water to your
hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve),
and that the lines are disconnected and drained.
- 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.
- Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied
residence. 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.
- Set the thermostat at 55 degrees if you’re going out of
town. This setting is considered to be safe for pipes.
“Frozen pipes can leave customers without water in the worst
of weather. Running a trickle of water during freezing temps can
help prevent damage,” said Suits. He offered these tips for when
temperatures fall below zero:
- 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
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If pipes freeze customers should:
- Make sure everyone in their home know where the main water
shut-off valve is and how to turn it off and on. If a pipe
freezes or bursts, the water should be shut off 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 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.
About Illinois American Water
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 visiting
[Karen Cotton, Illinois American