As the temperature falls, Tennessee American Water reminds customers to prepare for the cold weather now by taking a few simple steps that will help ensure their water pipes do not freeze during the winter season. When exposed to extended periods of cold temperatures, unprotected water pipes can easily freeze and burst, which can potentially led to flooding, severe water damage and costly repairs to your home or business.
“With the arrival of cold weather, Tennessee American Water encourages customers to weather-proof their homes to ensure their indoor and outdoor plumbing is protected from the freezing weather,” said Deron Allen, president of Tennessee American Water. "If pipes are left in unprotected locations without insulation, ice can easily form inside the pipes. As the ice expands, the pipe will crack and eventually burst, leaving the customer with a costly repair bill and causing severe water damage to their home or business."
Company officials said customers can prepare their home or business for colder temperatures and reduce their risk of freezing pipes that may burst by taking the following precautions:
· Search your house for uninsulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Consider wrapping pipes with electric heating tape, but follow manufacturers' instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
· Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations, especially where cable TV or phone lines enter the house, with caulking to keep cold winds away from pipes.
· If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. Close them when water appears.
· Make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained.
· Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze. If you intend to leave a property entirely without heat, be sure to drain all water to prevent the possibility of frozen pipes.
· Set the thermostat at 55 degrees if you're going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is considered to be safe for pipes.
· Consider wrapping your water heater in an insulation blanket. While not really at danger for freezing, this can lower your heating bills.
If customers have any questions or need additional information on cold weather tips, they are encouraged to contact Tennessee American Water’s customer service center 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 866/736-6420.