As cold weather arrives in the Tennessee Valley, Tennessee American Water reminds its customers to take steps to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes as well as frozen meters.
“The new year has brought cold weather to our area, which can cause the water pipes in your home to freeze,” said Tennessee American Water Vice President of Operations Doug Wagner. “Taking simple measures to prevent frozen water pipes saves the stress and cost of dealing with them and the damage they might cause.”
Property owners are responsible for maintenance of the water service line from the meter to the house, as well as any in-home pipes. Tennessee American Water encourages residents to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes.
Follow these steps before cold weather sets in:
- Know how to shut off your water. Locate your main water shut-off valve. You may want to tag or label it, so you do not have to search for it in an emergency. This is important to know in a non-emergency situation as well, like making a repair on a small leak on a toilet or sink.
- Check sprinkler or irrigation systems. Make sure you have turned everything off and fully drained the system.
- Identify your home’s freezing points. Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.
- Strengthen your defenses. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors.
- Protect your pipes. Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or electrical pipe heater (even fabric or newspaper can help).
When temperatures stay below freezing:
- Prevent pipes from freezing. Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run. Consider collecting the water for later use like watering plants. Also, the cost of a short-term trickle is much less costly than a repair of a burst pipe.
- Keep your pipes warm. Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If your pipes do freeze:
- Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without first turning off the main shut-off valve.
- Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave the space heater unattended and avoid the use of kerosene or open flames.
- Be careful turning water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and double check for any additional cracks and leaks.
ABOUT ENNESSEE AMERICAN WATER
Tennessee 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 services to approximately 380,000 people in Tennessee and north Georgia. For more information, visit www.tennesseeamwater.com.