Pennsylvania American Water Reminds Customers to Act Now Ahead of Holiday Weekend Winter Storm

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (Dec. 21, 2022) – With a blast of bitter temperatures and whipping winds forecast to head our way ahead of the holiday weekend, Pennsylvania American Water reminds customers 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 and as well as any in-home plumbing. The company encourages residents to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes:

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.
  • 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.

Help report leaks:

Pennsylvania American Water advises that 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 at 1-800-565-7292. You can also report a water outage, leak, or other water emergency online through the Pennsylvania American Water website (click “Report Emergency” in the top right corner) or through the company’s online customer portal, MyWater.

Clear snow hydrants:

Additionally, the company asks that homeowners help keep fire hydrants clear from snow. By doing so, the public can help firefighters easily locate them and access water quickly, preserving valuable time to save lives and structures potentially. If you have a hydrant on or near your property, please take a few minutes to clear away the snow. If you cannot clear the hydrant, please ask a neighbor or someone else who can do it for you. Remember, quick access to fire hydrants benefits everyone.

For more helpful tips, visit Pennsylvania American Water’s YouTube channel and check out the Thawing Frozen Pipes video.

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 2.4 million people. For more information, visit and follow Pennsylvania 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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