When below-freezing temperatures occur over a few days, water pipes and meters close to cold air may freeze. Property owners are responsible for protecting both water pipes and meters from damage. Take steps to prevent water pipes and meters from freezing to continue to enjoy water service and avoid unnecessary and expensive repairs. Preventing pipes and meters from freezing is much easier than thawing them.

How to Prevent Pipes and Meters from Freezing

Eliminate drafts

  • Tightly close doors and windows to the outside and eliminate drafts from crawl spaces.
  • Fill cracks in walls and around windows.

Provide warmth

  • Open the door to the room where the pipes are located to allow warmth to circulate.
  • Place a lighted bulb near water pipes. (Never use open flames.)
  • Wrap pipes in insulation or heat tape.
  • Open cabinet door below the sink to allow warm air to reach the pipes.

Protect outside faucets and meters

  • Turn off water to garden hose connections at an inside valve and drain the exposed piping before freezing temperatures set in.
  • Check to see that the outdoor meter cover fits properly and that it has no cracks into which cold wind can blow.

Turn on water frequently

  • Flowing water often breaks up ice below freezing.
  • When outside temperatures remain below freezing, it's less expensive to run your faucet regularly than for you to repair a frozen or burst pipe.

What to do if pipes freeze

If no water comes from your faucets when you turn them on, most likely the pipes nearest a wall, door, window, or along the floor are frozen.

Start by opening a faucet near the frozen pipe to release any vapor from the melting ice and so that you'll know when the water starts flowing again.

Begin warming the pipes nearest the faucet and work toward the frozen section. Blow warm air on the pipe using a hair dryer. (Do not leave the dryer unattended or allow it to overheat.)

Once water has begun to flow again, let a pencil-sized stream of water flow through the faucet until normal heating is restored to the area.

Eliminate cold drafts and allow warm air to circulate around the pipes to prevent freezing again.

If you suspect damage to the water meter, contact customer service. Water emergencies should be reported to Engage Toledo at 419-936-2020 immediately.