Tennessee American Water reminds customers that now is the time to prepare their homes for cold weather.
A few steps can help keep pipes from freezing and bursting during the winter season, which can lead to flooding, water damage and costly repairs.
"With the arrival of cold weather, Tennessee American Water encourages customers to weather-proof their homes to ensure their indoor and outdoor plumbing is protected from the freezing weather," Deron Allen, president of Tennessee American Water, said in a prepared statement. "If pipes are left in unprotected locations without insulation, ice can easily form inside the pipes. As the ice expands, the pipe will crack and eventually burst, leaving the customer with a costly repair bill and causing severe water damage to their home or business."
Officials offer the following tips to prepare your home for winter:
—Search your house for uninsulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Pipes can be wrapped with electric heating tape (but manufacturer's instructions should be followed to avoid creating a fire hazard).
—Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations, such as where cable TV or phone lines enter the house, with caulking to keep cold wind away from pipes.
—If your home is heated by a hot water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. Close them when water appears.
—Make sure the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house and that the lines are drained.
—Drain and shut off the water to any unoccupied residence, such as a summer or vacation home. If a home is left entirely without heat, be sure to drain all water from the pipes so that it can't freeze inside the pipes.
—Set your thermostat to 55 degrees if you're going to be out of town during the cold months. This setting is considered safe for pipes.
—Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. Water heaters are not likely to freeze, but this can lower heating bills.
Click here for additional cold weather tips, or contact Tennessee American Water's customer service center at 1-866-736-6420.
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