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Protect Water Meters and Pipes

Here are some tips to prevent freezing

-Protect your Water meter: If your water meter is located in an unheated or minimally heated area such as a crawl space or garage, make sure it is properly covered or protected to keep it from freezing. The meter is your responsibility and you are liable for any damage to the meter. Fees for meter replacement start at $130 if the meter is damaged.

-Keep the garage door closed: If your water meter is in an unheated garage, keep the garage door closed as much as possible to protect the meter.

-Eliminate drafts: Close crawl space vents and openings. Repair broken or cracked windows. Make sure basement doors close tightly.

-Insulate pipes in unheated areas: Wrapping electrical heat tape or insulation around pipes that run through crawl spaces, garages or unheated basements may help prevent freezing. Water pipes that run along exterior walls of the house are more likely to freeze as are pipes running through  unheated attics, crawl spaces, garages and basements. It's important to remember that both hot and cold water pipes can freeze.

-Let the water run: Leaving a small but steady stream of lukewarm water running will keep the water moving through the pipes and help prevent freezing. 

-Open doors below sinks: If a sink is located against an outside wall, opening cabinet doors below the sink can help warm air get to the pipes.

-Find the master shut-off inside your home and verify that it works properly: The master shut-off is usually located near the place where the water service line enters your house. If it does not work, it may need to be repaired or replaced. Consider tagging the valve handle with a bright color and show family members where it is. Then if a pipe freezes and breaks, you can turn the water off at the master shut-off valve.

-If pipes freeze despite your precautions: If your City Utilities bills are paid and no water comes out when you turn on the tap, you may have a frozen pipe. You may want to check with your neighbors to find out if they have water. If they are also without water, please call 311 to determine if a water main in your area is shut down for repair. If there are no repairs going on and the neighbors do have water, you may have a frozen pipe in your home or in your water service line. You may be able to thaw the pipe if you know where the freeze up is located. Thawing should be done slowly to avoid bursting the pipe. One suggestion is to wrap the frozen section with towels or rags and pour hot water over it. This is messy, but may work. Be ready to shut off water at the master shut-off if the pipe breaks. If you cannot determine where the freeze is located, you will need to call a plumber. If your plumber cannot locate the freeze or thaw it, they may need to call City Utilities for assistance, by dialing 311.

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