Iowa American Water reminds customers to protect their plumbing and water meter from the cold

DAVENPORT, IA (December 19, 2023) – As temperatures continue to drop, Iowa American Water is reminding customers to protect their home plumbing and water meter from the cold to avoid the cost and frustration of broken pipe repairs and water meter replacements.

“Taking preventive steps at the onset of colder temperatures can help to protect our customers from unexpected repair costs, frustration, and higher water bills this winter season,“ said Brad Nielsen, Vice President of Operations for Iowa American Water. They can also help prevent temporary interruptions in water service.”

Iowa American Water encourages customers to be mindful of the following tips and take the necessary precautions:

Before the Bitterly 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 during the winter months, consider contacting Iowa American Water at (866) 641-2108 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.

A frozen water meter can also lead to expensive home plumbing repairs and meter replacement charges as outlined in the table below:

Meter Size

Replacement Cost









Iowa American Water also advises that sub-freezing temperatures can cause aging water mains to break and cause unsafe driving conditions. If you see a leak, or your water service is disrupted, you can report the leak or service interruption from the Iowa American Water website or from your MyWater account. This feature is fully automated and will guide you through a quick and easy multi-step process to submit the water emergency. Additionally, please continue to check the company’s alerts page for any disruptions that could be impacting your area.

Iowa American Water has prepared a cold weather infographic with winter tips and suggested preparations.

Iowa 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 213,000 people. For more information, visit and follow Iowa American Water on Twitter and Facebook.

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE:AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to more than 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Lisa Reisen

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