Freezing Temperatures Can Lead To Costly Water Repairs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): As temperatures are expected to plunge below zero Thursday night, leaders with City Utilities are reminding customers to take extra precautions to protect pipes and water meters from freezing.

Last month City Utilities had more than 500 calls customers who had frozen pipes or meters at their home.

Water meters are the responsibility of the homeowner and replacements start at around $130.

Residents who have no water and suspect that it’s because of a frozen meter should call 311 to report it. If it’s after hours, residents should still call 311 and remain on the line for prompts that will allow them to reach the water maintenance dispatcher.


Tips to protect your home and pipes:


· To avoid a frozen meter or pipes customers can run a small stream of water, about the diameter of a pencil, to keep the flow going through pipes and the meter. This small amount can help protect their meter and pipes. 


· 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 the meter is located outdoors in a pit, be sure the lid is not broken or missing. 


· Residents may also want to run a small trickle of water through pipes that are on an outside wall of a home.


 · 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. 


 · 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. 


· 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.