Brain Freeze: Avoid the Headache of Frozen Pipes

New York American Water Emphasizes Winter Prep as Arctic Temperatures Approach

Merrick, NY (January 29, 2019) – With polar-like conditions predicted to bring frigid air to the region this week, New York American Water is urging homeowners to act now to prevent the headache and expense of frozen and damaged household pipes.

“Long periods of sub-freezing temperatures increase the risk of unprotected pipes freezing or bursting in vulnerable areas,” said New York American Water Vice President of Operations Richard Kern. “Making the necessary preparations for these conditions now and learning how to respond to frozen pipes can alleviate the time and 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. If a customer is concerned whether or not their pipes are freezing during extended periods of freezing temperatures, there is a simple way to test. If the faucet is turned-on and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe and expect to take immediate action.

New York American Water encourages all of its customers to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes:


  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.


  • Shut off the water immediately. Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is 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.


  • 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 New York 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 do not disturb it.

For more helpful tips and to view New York American Water cold weather infographic, visit the Wise Water Use page, on the company’s website at


Sub-freezing temperatures can also cause water mains and service lines to break and cause unsafe driving conditions. If you see a leak or your water service is disrupted, New York American Water asks that you please contact the company’s customer service center at 1-877-426-6999.

About New York American Water:
New York American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, is the largest investor-owned water company in New York, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 350,000 people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company.  The company employs 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting

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