“Following recent harsh winters, 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 Bruce Hauk. “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 and meters
from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared
to the cost to repair a broken pipe. Replacing a water meter
can also cost over $100. Customers should implement wise
water use practices and collect the running water for later
- 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.
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
- 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.
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If you are going to be away from your home for more than a few days:
- Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your
property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have
- 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 information, visit
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About 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 high-quality
and reliable water and/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 and most geographically diverse
publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in
Voorhees, N.J., the company employs 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide
regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services
to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More
information can be found at www.amwater.com.
[Karen Cotton, Illinois American