Illinois American Water is reminding homeowners of steps to take to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes.
Customers are also encouraged to ensure their contact information is accurate to receive important water service information should weather impact water service.
Wednesday’s temperatures for Southern Illinois are in the negative numbers, forcing schools to be called off across the area.
According to Mike Smyth, vice president of operations, Illinois American Water has invested in water main replacements across the state to decrease main breaks, but weather can still be a factor. He said, “Every year we invest between $70 and $100 million to upgrade our water infrastructure. This includes replacing many miles of water main across the state to enhance service and decrease water main breaks. That being said, cold weather can impact our infrastructure. This is why it’s so important we can reach our customers should a water emergency occur.”
During water service emergencies, Illinois American Water contacts customers either through in-person notification,
door hanger or a customer notification system called CodeRED. CodeRED is a high-speed customer notification
system which contacts customers via phone, phone and text, or email based on customer preferences. Customers are
encouraged to log on to the company’s web self-service portal My Account (www.amwater.com/myaccount) to enter
their contact information and preferences.
Customers who do not have Internet access can contact the customer service center at (800) 422-2782 to update their contact information or to report an emergency.
Landlords are required to pass along alerts to their tenants. Tenants can also download the free CodeRED Mobile Alert app at www.ecnetwork.com/coderedmobilealert to receive location-specific notifications on their smartphone. They will receive Illinois American Water alerts and public safety information sent by local organizations using CodeRED.
Customers are also reminded to take critical steps to protect their in-home plumbing and water meters during frigid weather. Illinois American Water encourages residents to take the following precautions.
When temperatures are below freezing customers should:
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.
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 their main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut off water immediately.
Protect pipes and water meters. Customers can wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing
wire; newspaper or fabric might also work. For outside meters, they should keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation so customers should not disturb it.
If 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, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. Customers can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Space heaters should not be left unattended, and customers should avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
Once the pipes have thawed, water should be turned on slowly and pipes checked for cracks and leaks.
When customers are away they can:
Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check their property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
Purchase a freeze alarm for less than $100. The alarm will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
According to Smyth, by taking these steps customers are also protection their local water team.
“By simply running a thin stream of water, especially overnight when temperatures drop significantly, and taking other precautions, customers can help prevent frozen pipes and meters. This prevents unnecessary no water calls which require our team to visit a premise,” he said.
In addition, the company is taking steps to limit cold weather exposure.
Smyth says, “There is nothing more important to Illinois American Water than ensuring our team is safe, therefore we are conducting emergency work only at this time and doing all we can to keep our colleagues inside. Should our team have to respond to a main break, we have processes in place to limit work and provide our team with proper protective clothing and equipment.”
More cold weather tips can be found here – https://tinyurl.com/y757poys.