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Cold Weather Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Cold Weather Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes


Illinois American Water reminds homeowners of steps to take to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes.

Mike Smyth, vice president of operations for Illinois American Water said, “Each winter, we face frigid temperatures across the state, which can cause pipes to freeze and burst, which could result in costly damage.

He offered several tips for when temperatures are consistently at or below 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 broken pipes. It was also pointed out, one could capture the water for other uses; such as watering plants.

Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures. 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 shut off valves. If a pipe freezes or burst, shut the water off immediately.

Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tape. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as an insulation.

If your pipes freeze; shut off the water, do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is turned off, freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes and joints.

Apply heat to the frozen pipe, by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to the 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.

Illinois American Water is a subsidiary of American Water, the largest investor owned water utility in the state.