VOORHEES, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As winter quickly approaches and temperatures continue to fall, New Jersey American Water wants to remind homeowners to protect their pipes from frigid winter weather to prevent costly plumbing repairs.
“The best strategy in combating the cold winter months is a proactive one,” said Kevin Kirwan, vice president of Operations for New Jersey American Water. “Taking certain preventive measures to winterize homes and learning how to properly maintain and conserve resources, particularly during the cold weather months, can help prevent pipes and meters from freezing in your home and causing larger problems in the long term.”
New Jersey American Water encourages its customers to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing pipes that can burst.
Preparing for cold weather
- Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut-off valve is located so you can turn off the water in an emergency. When you locate the valve, mark it with an identification tag. The valve is typically located where the water line enters the home. This could be in the basement, crawlspace, or utility closet.
- Check for pipes that pass through unheated spaces or rooms, such as crawlspaces, basements, garages, or uninsulated exterior walls. Protect exposed pipes by wrapping them with heat tape, pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores. If you have installed heat tape on exposed pipes, inspect the tape for cracks or fraying and make any needed repairs.
- If your water meter is outside, make sure your meter lid is closed tightly.
- Eliminate sources of cold air near pipes by sealing openings or cracks that could cause drafts. Close air vents in crawlspaces.
- Drain all outdoor garden hoses, roll them up and store them inside to prevent cracking. If you have an indoor valve for the outside faucet(s), shut it off and drain water from pipes leading to the faucet(s).
- Turn off and drain your irrigation system.
When temperatures consistently fall below freezing
- For kitchen or other sinks up against cold, exterior walls, open cabinets to let warm air in your home reach the pipes.
- Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.
- If your pipes do 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 that will leak when thawed.
- Apply heat to a frozen pipe by warming the air around it. Avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
- Once the pipes have thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check for cracks and leaks.
If you are going away
- If you are going to be away, leave your thermostat at 55 degrees to prevent freezing pipes. If your water meter is located in your home and freezes, the homeowner/business is responsible for the cost to replace or repair the meter.
- Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
- A freeze alarm can also be purchased for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
- If no one will be home for an extended period of time during extreme winter weather, consider contacting New Jersey American Water at 800-272-1325 to turn your water off and hire a plumber to drain your system. That way, if your furnace stops working, there will be no water in your pipes to freeze.