Near zero temperatures are in the forecast for Tuesday, Jan 21. Homeowners are encouraged to take a few simple steps to prevent damage caused by freezing of water pipes inside and outside the home, said Maine Water Co., in a Jan 20 news release.
Pipes taking water in from a public water system or a private well, and water meters, are usually located near exterior walls and are vulnerable to freezing during extreme cold and windy conditions. When water inside a pipe or water meter freezes it can restrict or completely block the flow of water to the rest of the home, damage pipes and the meter, and flood basements when the ice thaws and water gushes in through split pipes and meters.
Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the water service line from the curb to the house, as well as for any in-home piping, including meter repair costs.
“We encourage customers and private well owners to take the following precautions to reduce the chances that pipes will freeze or burst and water meters will be damaged,” said Maine Water.
- Locate the shutoff valve and be sure it is working properly in case of an emergency.
- Protect outside pipes and faucets. If there is a separate shutoff valve for the outside faucet, turn it off and drain the lines. If not, wrap and insulate outside faucets or hose bibs.
- Check for broken windows or damaged skirting that might cause freezing to your pipes or meter in your basement or crawl space.
- Caulk around pipes where they enter the house. Seal cracks or holes in windows, walls or doors near the meter or pipes.
- Make sure room heat can circulate freely around the meter and water pipes.
- Leave cabinet doors open where there is plumbing when the temperature is below freezing to allow more heat to the pipes.
- Wrap interior pipes with insulation, particularly in unheated areas like the garage, basement or crawl space.
- Homeowners that have had problems in the past with pipes freezing, you may want to let the water run at a slow rate in extreme cold. The extra cost in your water bill will be minimal compared to the cost of repairing a broken pipe. Homeowners can use a bucket or container to catch the dripping water and reuse it for another purpose.
Maine Water has prepared a fact sheet that includes these tips and additional information on what to do if a homeowner’s water pipes or water meter does freeze. The fact sheet is called Winterizing Tips, and it can be downloaded at www.mainewater.com > Customers > Bill Inserts and Fact Sheets. It can also be requested by calling our toll-free customer service number: 800-287-1643.