Pennsylvania American Water Reminds Customers That Arctic Temperatures Can Freeze Home Plumbing

HERSHEY, Pa. – With polar-like conditions predicted to bring frigid air to the Commonwealth for the rest of this week, Pennsylvania American Water today advised homeowners that freezing temperatures can damage your 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 James Sheridan. “Making the necessary preparations for these conditions and learning how to respond to frozen pipes can alleviate the expenses associated 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 advised 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.

Pennsylvania American Water encourages residents to take the following steps:

If your pipes freeze:

– Shut off the water immediately. Don’t 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. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
– Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

During at or below freezing temperatures:

– If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, 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.
– Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

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 for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.

Being aware of your internal plumbing also can prevent damage to your plumbing system, and Pennsylvania American Water encourages customers to:

– Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to 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 your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
– Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don’t disturb it.

More cold weather tips can be found at, or by visiting the company’s YouTube channel or its Facebook page.

Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.1 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,600 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 40 states and parts of Canada.

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