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Subzero Temperatures & Snow in the Forecast: New Jersey American Water Emphasizes Need to Guard Against Frozen Pipes

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01/03/2018 | 11:39 pm

It looks like the subzero temperatures and winter weather are here to stay for a while, so New Jersey American Water is urging homeowners to act now to prevent frozen and damaged household pipes.

“With the extreme cold temperatures and a pending snow storm, our crews are ready to handle any main breaks or service disruptions that come our way. We are also asking customers to take immediate steps to protect vulnerable areas of their homes to avoid frozen pipes that can burst and result in costly damage to their properties,” said New Jersey American Water Vice President of Operations Thomas Shroba.

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


  • 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. When you locate the valve, mark it with an identification tag. The valve is typically located where the water line enters the home. This could be in the basement, crawlspace, or utility closet.
  • 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. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don't disturb it.
  • If you are going to be away for a few days or more, leave your thermostat at 55 degrees to prevent freezing.


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


  • 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 by 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, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.


  • Keep fire hydrants clear of snow and winter debris.
  • Clear a three-foot perimeter around hydrants so firefighters can work.
  • Clear a path from hydrant to street.
  • Fire hydrants that remain clear at all times can save valuable time if firefighters need to access them in the event of an emergency.

For more helpful tips and to view New Jersey American Water cold weather infographic, visit the Wise Water Use page, on the company’s website at


New Jersey American Water also advises that sub-freezing temperatures can cause water mains and service lines to break and cause unsafe driving conditions. If you see a leak or your water service is disrupted, please contact the company’s customer service center at 1-800-272-1325.

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.7 million people. More information can be found at With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. The company employs 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting

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