As Temperatures Drop, Virginia American Water Reminds Customers to Prepare for Winter Weather
Alexandria, V.A. (Nov. 19, 2020) – As temperatures dip below freezing in many parts of the state this week, Virginia American Water warns customers that the winter season is quickly approaching. The company urges customers to set aside a few moments right now to prepare their plumbing for the coming cooler conditions and avoid the cost of broken pipe repairs.
“With COVID-19 keeping many of us at home more than usual this time of year, it’s important now more than ever to protect our pipes from freezing,” explained Casey Allen, Vice President of Operations for Virginia American Water. “In addition to home plumbing, customers should take extra precautions to winterize plumbing in any building currently unoccupied due to COVID-19. Without regular water usage and heating, vacated offices, businesses, and schools are especially susceptible to frozen pipes. Winterizing your pipes before sub-freezing temperatures set in will help keep your plumbing safe, offering you some peace of mind during these uncertain times.”
Virginia American Water encourages customers to be mindful of the following tips and take the necessary precautions as we enter the winter season:
Before Cold Weather Sets In:
- 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. The valve is typically located where the water line enters the home. This could be in the basement, crawlspace, or utility closet. When you locate the valve, be sure to mark it with an identification tag.
- 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.
- If you are going to be away for a few days or more, leave your thermostat at 55 degrees to prevent freezing.
- If no one will be home for an extended period of time during the winter months, consider contacting Virginia American Water at (800) 452-6863 to turn your water off and hire a plumber to drain your system. By doing this, there will be no water in your pipes to freeze if your furnace stops working.
When Temperatures Fall Below Freezing:
- If your kitchen or other sinks are located against exterior walls, be sure to open cabinets in that space to allow warm air to reach the pipes.
- Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing and collect water in a bucket or tub to use for other purposes.
- If your pipes do freeze, shut off the water immediately.
- Do not 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.
Virginia American Water also advises that sub-freezing temperatures can cause water mains to break and can cause water to cover roadways creating unsafe driving conditions. If you see a leak, or your water service is disrupted, please contact the company’s Customer Service Center toll-free at (800) 452-6863. Additionally, please continue to check the company’s alerts page as well as the Facebook page for any disruptions that could be impacting your area.
Virginia American Water has prepared a cold weather infographic with winter tips and suggested preparations. For more information, visit the “Wise Water Use” page on the company’s website at www.virginiaamwater.com.
About Virginia American Water
Virginia American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 320,000 people. For more information, visit www.virginiaamwater.com and follow Virginia American Water on Twitter and Facebook.
About American Water
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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