Prevent Frozen Pipes and Meters During the Winter Cold

When below freezing temperatures are sustained over a few days, water pipes and meters are at risk of freezing. The New Brunswick Water Utility urges residents to take to steps to prevent this from happening, as frozen pipes and meters can stop water service and may be expensive to repair or replace.

The New Brunswick Water Utility offers the following prevention tips to avoid frozen pipes:

Eliminate cold drafts near water pipes:

  • Tightly close doors and windows
  • Insulate crawl spaces to curb drafts
  • Fill cracks in walls and around windows
  • Turn off outdoor water hose connections
  • Install storm windows on basement windows for extra insulation.

Provide warmth to the water pipes – insulate them and keep doors open to allow heat from the house to circulate in rooms where pipes are present.

Make frequent use of your water supply – Flowing water often breaks up ice below freezing.

To Thaw Frozen Water Pipes:

If faucets are turned on and water fails to flow, it’s possible your pipes are frozen. If this happens, pipes nearest a wall, door, window or along the floor are likely the culprit.

  • Open 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. This can be done using a hair dryer. Do not leave the dryer unattended or allow it to overheat. Do not use a blowtorch or open flame to warm pipes.
  • Once water has begun to flow again, allow 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 re-freezing.

To Prevent a Frozen Water Meter:

  • Make sure warm air is allowed to circulate around the meter, utilizing the previous tips for prevention of frozen pipes.
  • If the meter is in a separate room, leave the door open to allow warmth to circulate. If the meter is in a cabinet, open the cabinet door.
  • If the meter is in an outdoor pit, check to see that the cover fits properly and that it has no cracks into which cold wind can blow.

If you suspect damage to water pipes or the water meter, please call the New Brunswick Water Utility at (732) 745-5243 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you need to call after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays or at any point on the weekend, please call (732) 745-5103.

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