Friday, October 10, 2014

Illinois American Water Reminds Customers to Protect Pipes Now in Preparation for Winter Weather

           — Winter weather can pose many challenges to a homeowner.  One of the biggest and most costly is frozen pipes.   Illinois American Water reminds homeowners to make preparations now to prevent water damage from frozen pipes.

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 pipes.
·        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 later use.
·        Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures.
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

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