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ST. LOUIS – Freezing temperatures have been affecting the St. Louis region and Missouri American Water is encouraging homeowners and business owners to take the proper precautions to reduce the risk of freezing and bursting pipes.

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of indoor pipes, as well as the water service line running from the outdoor water meter or property line to the house or business.

Missouri American Water says that before freezing temperatures move in know the location of your main water shut-off valve. This is important if a pipe freezes or bursts. The water will need to be shut off immediately.

Pipes can be protected by wrapping them with insulation. Homeowners also should know what areas are most vulnerable to freezing. These are often basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms, and outside walls. Cold air sources near water lines should be eliminated by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces, and eliminating drafts near doors.

This week, there will be stretches where temperatures are consistently at or below freezing. When this occurs, Missouri American Water advise homeowners to allow a small trickle of water from both your cold and hot water faucets to run overnight to keep pipes and meters from freezing.

While some homeowners may worry about the cost of using water like this overnight, the cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe. Customers can also collect the running water for later use. Cabinet doors should be left open to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures, which can also help keep them from freezing.

If pipes do freeze, the water needs to be shut off immediately. Thaw pipes and melt the frozen water within the pipes with warm air. Be cautious when turning the water back on. Once pipes are thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check the pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks.