ST. LOUIS, Mo. — As below freezing temperatures and precipitation loom over the state Missouri American Water provided a checklist of steps to protect plumbing and prevent high water bills.

Be prepared

  • Know the location of your main water shut-off valve.
  • Turn off and drain your irrigation system.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water.
  • Protect exposed pipes by wrapping them with insulation, fabric, or newspaper.

When temperatures stay below freezing

  • Leave doors open on cabinets and vanities to expose pipes to warmer air.
  • Keep water moving through pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run.
  • If it snows, allow the snow to cover your water meter. Snow acts as insulation.

If your pipes freeze

  • Shut off the water immediately.
  • Thaw pipes with warm air, not direct heat. Avoid leaving space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Turn the water back on slowly once pipes have thawed, and check for cracks and leaks.

For more information on cold weather tips, visit