Are Your Water Meter & Pipes
Protected from the Cold?
Illinois American Water offers helpful
tips to help you avoid the unwanted expense and frustration of a
frozen water meter or broken pipe.
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[November 20, 2017]
Illinois American Water
reminds homeowners that now is the time to safeguard their home
plumbing to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes. Tips
also address frozen water meters, which can bring costly plumbing
repairs and replacement fees along with headaches and unexpected
expense for homeowners.
We want to remind customers 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
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
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 do not 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
broken pipe. Illinois American Water also encourages customers to
capture the water for wise water use. The water can be used to water
indoor plants and more.
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. Do not 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.
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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
Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks
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.
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,
your water service is disrupted or you experience low pressure, please contact
the companys 24/7 customer service center at 800-422-2782 to report an
emergency. For general inquiries, call between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More 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
1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in
Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most
geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility
company. The company employs more than 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
Illinois American Water
External Affairs, Manager]