Prevent cold weather from freezing water pipes

Prevent cold weather from freezing water pipes

Darren Sullivan
December 31, 2017

It's another reminder that as the mercury drops, your pipes could freeze. Also open cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom where pipes are to let warm air in the house circulate around them. If a pipe bursts anywhere in the house, this valve will turn the water flow off. Make sure everyone in the residence knows where this valve is located.

Mobile homes are especially vulnerable to frozen pipes due to the empty space under them.

Freezing weather takes a major toll on water pipes every winter.

Insulate pipes near basement windows and in unheated areas like crawlspaces, garages and attics.

Once you have frozen pipes, the prevention listed above will no longer solve the problem.

Schrock said keeping a meter key handy to shut off your water-main from the street before it's too late can prevent a major disaster. If possible, drain the pipe and this will lessen the chance of a break. Mihalko explained that wrapping or covering pipes with styrofoam helps keep them warm.

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Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.

Check for cracks in the vault cover of outside meter installations- A cracked cover permits cold air to enter and all insulation value to be lost.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area.

If you suspect your water meter or service line is frozen, you should call your local utility department to assess the situation. If you see a leak, your water service is disrupted or you experience low pressure in Illinois American Water's service area, contact the company's 24/7 customer service center at 800-422-2782 to report an emergency.

As you make travel plans for New Year's, Mihalko suggests leaving your home prepared for the cold.