Tips to protect your water meter and pipes

File photo.
File photo.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne’s City Utilities wants to remind people that pipes and water meters can freeze in these bitter cold temperatures, which could lead to costly repairs.

To avoid a frozen meter, you can keep a small stream of water, about the diameter of a pencil, running through the meter. This small amount can help protect the meter, as well as a pipe that might be near an outside wall.

Also, if the meter is in an unheated garage it should be protected with an insulated box and the garage door should be kept closed to hold in as much warmth as possible. If you have an outdoor meter located in a pit, be sure the lid is not broken or missing.  Remember, you are responsible for meter damage or replacements and replacements start at $130.

City officials provided the following tips to protect your home and pipes:

  • Wrapping pipes that run through unheated garages or crawl spaces can help prevent freezing.  Use insulating tape and wrap it over the entire length of exposed pipe.  You can also use molded flexible pipe sleeves.  Cover all valves, joints, etc. with insulating tape of fiberglass insulation.
  • Know where your master valve or a main water shut-off control is located that will allow you to turn off all the water coming into the house if you have a broken pipe. The valve is usually located in a spot near where the main water line enters the house.  If a pipe breaks somewhere in the house, you can turn off the water at this main valve.
  • Open doors below sinks, especially if the sink is located against an exterior wall. Opening the cabinet doors will allow warm air to reach the pipes.  Remember that drains can freeze, too.  Residents may want to consider using a space heater to keep warm air circulating around drains and water pipes.
  • Running a small stream of lukewarm water will keep water moving through the pipes and will keep the pipes from freezing.  This is especially helpful if the pipes are located along an exterior wall or under a slab.
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