Pennsylvania American Water Urges Customers to Take Steps to Prevent Frozen Pipes

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Pennsylvania American Water is urging homeowners to get “Winter Wise” this season by winterizing their homes. Freezing temperatures can damage plumbing inside and outside of the home and result in a loss of pressure or service.

“Sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period can cause pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze, burst and result in costly damage,” said Pennsylvania American Water Vice President of Operations Andrew Clarkson. “Making the necessary preparations for these conditions and learning how to respond to frozen pipes can alleviate the expenses associated with making major repairs.”

Property owners are responsible for maintenance of the water service line from the curb to the house, as well as any in-home piping. During extending periods of sub-freezing temperatures, if you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.

The company advises customers to check with a neighbor on the status of their service if they suspect they may have frozen pipes. If the neighbors have water, then pipes may be frozen or there may a leak on the resident’s service line.

In addition, Pennsylvania American Water offers the following advice to customers to help them prevent frozen pipes and meters this winter:

Before the Cold Sets In:

  • Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls. 
  • Locate your main water shut-off valve. Hang a tag on the valve, so you can find it quickly in an emergency.
  • Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or heat tape (even fabric or newspaper can help). 

When Temperature Stay Below Freezing:

  • If pipes run through cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warmer room temperatures flow in.
  • Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

If Your Pipes Freeze:

  • Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-off valve.
  • Melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.

More cold weather tips can be found by visiting the Pennsylvania American Water website, as well as its Facebook and YouTube pages.