WHITE PLAINS, NY — United Water is reminding customers that now is the time to take steps to protect the water meter and prevent pipes from freezing this winter. Homeowners are responsible for preventing damage to the water meter and pipes inside their property line from damage caused by frost and external causes. They are also responsible for any costs that might be incurred to repair such damage. The following tips will help reduce the risk of costly repairs and inconvenience, which may result from a frozen or broken pipe.
Outside the home
Disconnect and drain the garden hose connection.
Close all outside vents, crawl spaces and doors so cold air doesn’t seep inside.
Fix broken windows and seal cracks in the walls.
Inside the home
Wrap the meter and water lines in commercial insulation. Pipes subject to cold or freezing can be wrapped in heat tape, which is available at hardware stores.
Make sure the shutoff valves on either side of the water meter are working properly. Place a tag on the main shutoff valve and make sure everyone in the house knows where it is and how to operate it during an emergency.
Check the water meter periodically to see if there is damage. Contact United Water if you detect a crack.
If you have had problems with frozen pipes in the past, you may want to keep a trickle of water running from the highest faucet in your house during frigid weather. You will be billed for the water used, but this may help prevent more costly plumbing repairs that result from broken pipes.
If you won’t be home
If you’re going away for an extended period, keep a minimum amount of heat on in the house. This will help protect the pipes in case the temperature drops.
If you plan to turn the heat off, drain all the water from the pipes, toilets and water heater, and turn off the power source to the water heater.
If the pipes freeze
If your pipes freeze, it’s important to clear blockages as soon as possible to minimize damage. It may be best to call a licensed plumber.
If a water pipe has frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house.
Open a nearby faucet slightly so the pipe can drain as it thaws.
Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water.
Never use hot water or a blowtorch on a frozen pipe or water meter.