“We want to remind customers now when Mother Nature is still
cooperating that sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period
can cause pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze and burst resulting in
costly damage,” said Mike Smyth, vice president of operations. “By
taking the proper preventive steps now, customers can avoid frozen
pipes and water meters and the need to make expensive repairs to
damaged plumbing inside and outside of the home.”
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 what areas of your
home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside
walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken
windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating
drafts near doors.
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; newspaper or fabric
might also work. 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.
When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:
If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small
trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The
cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a
Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to
help keep them from freezing.
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.
Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by
applying heat directly to a 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.
When you are away:
Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to
ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
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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.
Illinois American Water also advises that sub-freezing temperatures can cause
aging water mains to break and cause water to cover roadways. If you see a leak,
or if your water service is disrupted or you experience low pressure, please
contact the company’s 24x7 customer service center at 800-422-2782 to report an
emergency. For general inquiries, call between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More cold
weather tips can be found at
www.illinoisamwater.com in our online learning center.
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 approximately 1.2 million people.
American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality
control and research laboratory in Belleville.
Illinois American Water ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Water
Utilities in the Midwest" according to J.D. Power’s 2016 Water Utility
Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM.
American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded
U.S. water and wastewater utility company. Marking its 130th anniversary this
year, the company employs 6,700 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 by visiting www.amwater.com.
[Karen L. Cotton
Manager, External Affairs
Illinois American Water]