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"Customers can take precautions to protect their pipes or meter by running a small stream of water, about the diameter of a pencil lead, to keep the flow going through pipes and the meter."

New cold temperatures threaten home pipes

Statement as issued Tuesday by the city of Fort Wayne:

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Forecasters are calling for temperatures near zero this week and coupled with an already frozen ground the combination could cause problems for your pipes at home.

City Utilities has had numerous calls from residents with frozen water meters or pipes at their residence.

Customers can take precautions to protect their pipes or meter by running a small stream of water, about the diameter of a pencil lead, to keep the flow going through pipes and the meter. This small amount can help prevent frozen pipes and meters.

Water meters are the responsibility of the homeowner and replacements start at around $130.

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.

If the meter is located outdoors in a pit, be sure the lid is not broken or missing.

Residents who have no water and suspect that it’s because of a frozen meter should call 311 to report it. If it’s after hours, residents should still call 311 and remain on the line for prompts that will allow them to reach the water maintenance dispatcher.

Protect your pipes

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

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