Winter Tips

Don’t let winter sneak up on you! Remember: a frozen water meter and/or frozen pipes are not only inconvenient, they can be expensive. Here are a few tips to keep your water flowing freely all winter.

Check your outside faucets:

  • Disconnect all hoses from outside faucets.
  • Shut off and drain all outside faucets and lawn sprinkler systems, OR
  • If you don’t have a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets, protect them with insulated covers. You’ll find covers at hardware and building supply stores.

Eliminate drafts:

  • Close all windows and doors near water lines.
  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.
  • Close foundation vents not needed for residential use.
  • Seal cracks in basement, crawl space, and other outside walls.

Insulate Pipes:

  • Wrap pipes in unheated areas with weatherproof insulation or heat tape products.

Protect the water meter:

  • If your water meter is in an unheated area or near drafts from outdoors, insulate it to keep it from freezing.
  • Customers are responsible for the replacement cost of a meter damaged due to freezing. The current cost is $50 plus you could also have to pay plumbers fees and/or after hour fees.

What to do if your pipes freeze:

  • Locate your main shut-off valve. If a water line has broken or split, you don’t want to waste time looking for the shut-off when the water begins flowing again.
  • Test the shut-off to make sure it’s working.
  • Find where the pipe is frozen. Look in unheated areas where pipe insulation is loose or missing.
  • Open a faucet downstream of the frozen area to provide an outlet for the water after thawing.
  • Thaw the pipe using a hair dryer on the low-heat setting. Move the dryer back and forth across the frozen section. Be patient! This is a slow process.
  • Never use an open flame to thaw a frozen line!!!
  • If none of your faucets work and you can’t find where the lines are frozen, it’s possible your service line is frozen. Call the water department at 585-593-4000 or 585-593-3333.
  • If the service line is frozen between the water main and the outside shut-off (curb box), we will thaw the line. There is no charge for this service.
  • If the service line is frozen within your property, thawing the line is your responsibility.

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