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

BELLEVILLE, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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 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 do
    not disturb it.

When temperatures are consistently at or below

  • 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. 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.
  • 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

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. More tips can be found at
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


Illinois American Water
Karen Cotton, 309-566-4126