Tennessee American Water Shares Tips on Preventing Water Pipes from Freezing and Breaking

Chattanooga, Tenn. (December 10, 2019) – As temperatures are forecasted to plummet today in the Tennessee Valley, Tennessee American Water reminds its customers to take steps to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes as well as frozen meters.

“Extreme weather events like sub-freezing temperatures can cause pipes in vulnerable areas to freeze and burst and result in costly damage,” said Tennessee American Water Director of Operations Kevin Kruchinski. “By taking the proper preventive steps, customers can avoid worrying about frozen pipes and making expensive repairs to damaged plumbing inside and outside of the home.”

Property owners are responsible for maintenance of the water service line from the meter to the house, as well as any in-home pipes. Tennessee American Water encourages residents to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes.

Follow these steps before cold weather sets in:

Know how to shut off your water. Locate your main water shut-off valve. You may want to tag or label it so you do not have to search for it in an emergency. This is important to know in a non-emergency situation as well, like making a repair on a small leak on a toilet or sink. Check sprinkler or irrigation systems. Make sure you have turned everything off and fully drained the system. Identify your home’s freezing points. Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls. Strengthen your defenses. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors. Protect your pipes. Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or electrical pipe heater (even fabric or newspaper can help). Set the thermostat at no lower than 55 degrees if you’re going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is generally considered to be safe for pipes.

When temperatures stay below freezing:

Prevent pipes from freezing. Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run. Consider collecting the water for later use like watering plants. Also, the cost of a short-term trickle is much less costly than a repair of a burst pipe. Keep your pipes warm. Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

If your pipes do freeze:

Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without first turning off the main shut-off valve. Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave the space heater unattended and avoid the use of kerosene or open flames.

Be careful turning water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and double check for any additional cracks and leaks.

Customers can learn more at www.tennesseeamwater.com or on our Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.


Tennessee 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 services to approximately 360,000 people in Tennessee and northern Georgia. 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 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 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 tennesseeamwater.com.

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