Winterize Pipes with these Tips

Prevent cold weather from freezing water pipes

Posted:  Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 9:15am

With cold weather in the forecast, homeowners are encouraged to take a few simple steps to prevent damage to household water pipes caused by freezing.  These tips are made available courtesy of Maine Water Company.

While property owners commonly know that outdoor water pipes are subject to freezing and bursting during subzero temperatures, many are surprised to learn that pipes and water meters inside the home are often vulnerable to damage from freezing, as well. 

Meters, and the pipes connected to them, are often close to outside walls and are particularly vulnerable to freezing if heat fails or windows are left open during a cold snap. Water inside the meter can freeze, damaging it and requiring replacement of the entire unit at the homeowners’ expense! 

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the water service line from the curb to the house, as well as any in-home piping including meter repair costs. We encourage customers to take the following precautions to reduce freezing or bursting pipes, as well as any damage to the water meter.

  • Know What Areas of Your Home are Most Vulnerable to Freezing– Basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms, and outside walls are at higher risk of having temperatures affect pipes
  • Eliminate Sources of Cold Air Near Water Lines– Allow room heat to freely circulate around these areas. Seal cracks or holes in windows, walls, or doors near the meter or pipes
  • Know the Location of Your Inside Water Shut-Off Valve– If a pipe freezes or bursts, you will want to know where to shut off the water immediately
  • Protect Your Pipes and Water Meter– Wrap Exposed Pipes with pipe insulation. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don't disturb it. 
  • Check for cracks in the vault cover of outside meter installations– A cracked cover permits cold air to enter and all insulation value to be lost. The Double cover is then unable to protect against freezing.
  • If you have Pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep from freezing up. The cost of extra water is low compared to cost of repairing a broken pipe.
  • Expose Pipes to warmer room temperatures by letting warm air to freely circulate the area.  Set up a small space heater for pipes that are more likely to freeze.
  • Turn off outside faucets– Don’t forget to disconnect your hose.

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 do freeze. The fact sheet is called Winterizing Tips and it can be downloaded at > Customers > Bill Inserts and Fact Sheets, or it can be requested at its toll free customer service number 1-800-287-1643.