Preventing Frozen Pipes and Meters
Preventing frozen pipes is far easier than replacing pipes that freeze and burst. And that’s not even considering paying for the damage to your home and possessions that can result from burst pipes.
Water pipes and meters can freeze within hours of the onset of sub-freezing weather – if they’re exposed to cold air or drafts.
These steps will help you prevent the damage, expense and inconveniences of having your pipes or water meter freeze.
Before Freezing Weather
- Find the main water shut-off valve to your home. Show all household members how to turn it off in case of a burst pipe or similar emergency.
- Please do not stuff the water meter box with any material.
- A thick rubber mat over the meter box lid on the ground can help keep heat in the box.
- The pipes most likely to freeze are those nearest an uninsulated wall, door, window, garage, attic, and basement or along an uninsulated floor.
- Add insulation to exterior walls wherever possible and wrap pipes with insulation.
- Eliminate cold drafts near water pipes. Make sure all doors and windows to the outside are tightly closed, including those in basements and crawl spaces. Fill cracks in walls and around windows, replace cracked glass, and install storm windows on basement windows.
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses from outside faucets, and turn off the connection to those faucets at the interior valve. Drain any exposed pipes. Insulate outside faucets and backflow devices.
- If your kitchen or bathroom sink is located against an outside wall, insulate the wall and exposed pipes. Open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- Keep the doors to rooms where the pipes and water meter are located so warm air can keep temperatures above freezing.
- Close or cover foundation vents.
- Letting a faucet drip or trickle water can prevent the water pipes from freezing. Flowing water can still freeze but this method makes it somewhat more difficult for the water to freeze.
- When you’re away, never completely shut off the heat unless you drain all the pipes and toilets first.
- Flowing water can also break up ice that has started to freeze inside pipes. Turn on the water periodically at all faucets that are exposed to cold air when outside temperatures have been below freezing for several days.
If A Water Pipe or Meter Freezes
- If you see or suspect damage to your water pipes:
- Call a licensed plumber for assistance.
- If you see or suspect a frozen or damaged water meter:
- Please call Mallory Valley Utility Districts office at 615-628-0237.
- You will need to be home when we attempt to thaw the meter. This is to minimize any damage inside your house if any of your pipes have burst.
- If there is no sign of damage to pipes or the meter, just a lack of water flow:
- Leave the faucet open as you attempt to thaw the pipe that feeds it.
- Once water starts flowing again, open a nearby faucet to allow a small stream of water to flow through the pipes. Keep that small trickle flow of water running until you correct the problem that caused the pipe to freeze – most likely cold drafts and a lack of warm air circulating around the pipes or meter. Your water bill is determined by the amount of water that you use.