December 15th, 2015

Illinois American Water Provides Cold Weather Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes and Water Meters

With the prediction of winter weather and freezing temperatures, Illinois American Water is reminding homeowners to take necessary steps to prevent frozen pipes and water meters. By following the company’s cold weather tips, customers can help avoid damaged plumbing inside and outside the home.

When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing customers should:

  • 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 their main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, immediately shut off the water.
  • 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. Customers are encouraged to capture the water and use it to water indoor plants and more.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
  • Keep the lid to outside meter pits closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation; do not disturb it.

If pipes freeze, customers should:

  • 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 via a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Don’t leave space heaters unattended and avoid kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

When customers are away, they should:

  • Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check their property to ensure that the heat is working, and the pipes have not frozen.
  • Also, a freeze alarm can be purchased 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 water mains to break and cause water to cover roadways. If customers see a leak, experience disrupted water service or low water pressure, they should 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 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 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 and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Karen Cotton, External Affairs Manager
309.566.4126 or

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