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Protect your water pipes from freezing this winter

(This video is from January 2018)

Temperatures are dropping below freezing once again, and that means potential trouble for your water pipes. Here's what Iowa American Water says you need to know to protect your home this winter.

Related: Stutzke's Stats: Why cold weather drops tire pressure

Before the cold

  • Eliminate sources of cold air near pipes such as broken windows, drafts, crawl spaces and faulty or no insulation.
  • 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 pipes in insulation - even newspaper or fabric could do the trick. Keep the meter lid tightly closed and let snow accumulate to insulate against cold air.
  • People in mobile homes should double check plumbing under their dwelling and follow above suggestions as needed.

When temperatures stay below freezing

  • If certain pipes are unavoidably vulnerable, keep a small trickle of water running over night. The cost of the water is much less compared to a broken pipe.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose the pipes underneath to warmer room air.

If your pipes freeze

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don't turn it back on until the pipe is thawed.
  • Thaw pipe by applying heat to the air around a pipe or the pipe directly. Use a hair drier, space heater or hot water. Avoid kerosene heaters or open flame.
  • Turn water back on slowly after pipes have thawed. Check for leaks.

Residents should contact their local water utility provider if there are any leaks.

Read: 5 things you should do (and one thing you should never do) if your pipes freeze