Pennsylvania American Water Reminds Customers of Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes During Sub-Freezing Temperatures

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (Jan. 13, 2024) – With a blast of colder weather forecasted for the upcoming week across the region, Pennsylvania American Water reminds customers to take steps now to prevent frozen and damaged pipes, which can lead to costly repairs.

“Preparation and prevention can help avoid frozen pipes that can burst and result in costly household damages,” said Jim Runzer, vice president of operations for Pennsylvania American Water. “Taking measures now can safeguard your plumbing against the threat of freezes and breaks.”

Property owners are responsible for maintaining the water service line from the curb to the house as well as any in-home plumbing. The company encourages residents to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of household pipes freezing and offers a short video of tips and tricks to help keep your water flowing smoothly through the winter.

Take action now

  • Familiarize yourself with areas of your home most susceptible to freezing, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms, and outside walls.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces, and eliminating drafts near doors.
  • Locate 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. Keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly for outside meters and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don't disturb it.

When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing

  • If you have pipes vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the repair of a broken pipe.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

If your pipes freeze

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it or 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.
  • Do not use kerosene heaters or open flames to thaw pipes inside your home.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check for cracks and leaks.

When you are away

  • Have a friend, relative, or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
  • 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.

Help report leaks

Sub-freezing temperatures can cause water main breaks and unsafe driving conditions. If you see a leak or your water service is disrupted, please report it to 1-800-565-7292. You can also report a water outage, leak, or other water emergency online through Pennsylvania American Water’s website (click “Report Emergency” in the top right corner) or through the company’s online customer portal, MyWater.

Clear snow away from hydrants

If you have a hydrant on or near your property, please take a few minutes to clear away the snow. By helping keep fire hydrants clear of snow, you can help firefighters easily locate and access them, preserving valuable time in the event of a fire.

Pennsylvania 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 wastewater services to approximately 2.3 million people. For more information, visit and follow Pennsylvania American Water on Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contacts

Laura Martin

Sr. Director, Government & External Affairs, PA & WV