Prevent water damage from frozen, burst pipes

Prevent water damage from frozen, burst pipes
Prevent water damage by keeping your pipes from freezing and bursting.

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Homeowners are reminded of what steps to take to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes.

The tips also address frozen water meters, which can lead to plumping repairs and replacement fees.

Illinois American Water encourages residents to take the following precautions 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 a broken pipe. You’re also encouraged 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
  • 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

Tips 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 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

Tips for 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 bought for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees

Illinois American Water also advised that sub-freezing temperatures can cause aging water mains to break and cause water to cover roads. If you see a leak, your water service is interrupted or you experience low pressure, you can contact your water company.

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