In advance of the extreme cold, area water utilities are advising homeowners to prevent frozen pipes and meters by taking the following preventative steps:
- Set your thermostat above 55 degrees, especially if you will be away for an extended time.
- Turn on the faucet farthest away from your main valve to a small, steady trickle.
- Warm pipes in cupboards and vanities by opening the doors.
- Wrap pipes with insulation or even newspaper if they are exposed to cold air.
- Close off crawl spaces, seal drafty windows and doors, and insulate walls and attics to eliminate cold air sources near pipes.
No water coming from your tap?
- Your water meter or pipes may be frozen.
If Your Meter Freezes:
- Call your water utility’s customer service line immediately if you think your meter is frozen.
- Do not thaw your water meter. This can result in extensive damage.
- Water utilities will replace outside water meters. It is their responsibility.
- Water meters located inside or outside homes and buildings may freeze when temperatures fall below freezing.
If Your Pipes Freeze:
- Shut off the water immediately at the main shut off valve.
- Melt frozen water in the pipes slowly by warming the air around it using a hair dryer or wrapping pipes in warm towels.
- Never use a kerosene heater, blow torch or open flame and keep heat away from flammable materials.
- Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn water back on.
- Check all pipes and joints for leaks or cracks.
- Leaks or pools of water from pipes means there was a burst or crack.
- Call a plumbing professional if you suspect a burst pipe or can’t find the frozen section.
How do I find my main water shut off valve?
- Look for the main valve where the water supply enters your house (usually in the basement) or in a concrete box near the street.
- If the valve is outside your house, lift the cover with a large screwdriver.
- Use a pipe or crescent wrench to turn off the water.
- Mark the shut-off valve with fluorescent paint or tape so you can find it in the dark.
If you suspect your meter might be frozen or that a pipe burst in your community/neighborhood, contact your local water utility: www.protectyourpipes.org/frozen-pipes