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.
• 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 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 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.