Iowa American Water is reminding homeowners to take steps to prevent frozen pipes and water meters. These tips can also help protect the local water team as they perform critical work for reliable, safe water service.
- Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. Customers should consider collecting the water for later use such as watering indoor plants and more. The cost of a short-term trickle is much less costly than a repair to a burst pipe.
- Open cabinet doors to expose pipes. Opening cabinet doors exposes pipes to warmer room temperatures.
- Check for pipes that pass through unheated spaces or rooms, such as crawlspaces, basements, garages, or uninsulated exterior walls. Protect these pipes by wrapping them with heat tape, pre-molded foam rubber sleeves, or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores.
“These tips are most important. They help residents keep their home plumbing safe, while also supporting our team in the field. Many times, when pipes freeze, customers will assume there is an issue with their water service and call our team to inspect. This can place demand on our team members who are working hard in the field to keep water flowing to customers,” said Brad Nielsen, Vice President of Operations.
If in-home pipes freeze, customers should:
- Shut off the water immediately and not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
- Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it. Use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Space heaters should not be left unattended. Avoid using kerosene heaters or open flames.
- Once pipes thaw, water should be turned on slowly and pipes should be checked for cracks and leaks.
When customers are away from home, they should:
- Have someone regularly check their property to ensure the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
- Consider a freeze alarm. The alarm will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
- Residents should keep snow cleared away from fire hydrants located near their residence. This can help local firefighters in the event of an emergency.
- Customers should keep their Iowa American Water account contact information updated to receive important water service information should their service be impacted. Customers can update information online at https://www.amwater.com/iaaw/ or by calling 866-641-2108.
Iowa American Water also advises that sub-freezing temperatures can cause aging water mains to break and cause unsafe driving conditions. If you see a leak, or your water service is disrupted, you can report the leak or service interruption from the Iowa American Water website or from your MyWater account. This feature is fully automated and will guide you through a quick and easy multi-step process to submit the water emergency. Additionally, please continue to check the company’s alerts page for any disruptions that could be impacting your area.
Iowa American Water has also prepared a cold weather infographic with winter tips and suggested preparations.