Colder Weather Means Protecting Your Pipes

By Neil Doyle

Every homeowner knows that frozen pipes are a serious concern as winter sets in, but Illinois American Water says the problem can be avoided with some simple precautions.

The water provider says eliminating sources of cold air near water lines is one of the simplest ways to protect your plumbing. By repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of pipe damage. The utility also recommends knowing the location of your main water shut-off valve so that water can be turned off quickly in an emergency.

Other tips include-

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, however, 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.

More cold weather tips can be found at