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The Scoop

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Protect home water meter, pipes

Statement as issued by the city of Fort Wayne:

Fort Wayne, Ind. -- With temperatures below freezing, City Utilities reminds customers that pipes and water meters can freeze leading to an interruption of service and costly repairs. City Utilities reminds customers that they are responsible for meter damage or replacements.

To avoid a frozen meter residents can keep a small stream of water, about the diameter of a pencil, running through the meter. This small amount can help protect their meter as well as a pipe that might be near an outside wall.

Additionally, 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.

For residents that have an outdoor meter located in a pit, be sure the lid is not broken or missing. The meter is the responsibility of the customer and replacements start at $130.

Tips to protect your home and pipes

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• Running a small stream of lukewarm water will keep water moving through the pipes and will keep the pipes from freezing. This is especially helpful if the pipes are located along an exterior wall or under a slab.

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