“With winter weather on the way, now is the time for
customers to take preventative steps to avoid frozen pipes and water
meters. By following our cold weather tips, customers can help avoid
damaged plumbing inside and outside the home,” said Mike Smyth, vice
president of operations.
Illinois American Water encourages residents to take the following
precautions when temperatures are consistently at or below 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.
□ 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.
□ Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use
electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work.
□ Keep the lid to the outside meter pit closed
tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as
insulation; do not disturb it.
If your pipes freeze:
□ Shut off the water immediately. Do not attempt to
thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off.
□ 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. Don’t leave space heaters
unattended and avoid kerosene heaters or open flames.
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□ 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
□ Also, a freeze alarm can be purchased and will call
a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below
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 company’s 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.
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
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 7,100
dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based
drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than
14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean,
affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure
we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit