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Winter can present problems when it comes to your drinking water and plumbing fixtures, but there are a few preventative measures you can take as a home owner in order to reduce the risk of damage or disruption to your service.
One of the best ways and first thing we tell our customers who are dealing with freezing water lines is to KEEP YOUR WATER RUNNING! It does not have to be an extreme amount, just a trickle, and in really cold conditions at least a stream the thickness of the lead in a pencil.
Some other things to keep in mind as winter approaches are your outdoor faucets and sprinkler system. Always make sure your sprinkler system is shut off and drained or blown out for the winter because this is the first place you will have a break when the temperature drops. Also, disconnect any hoses attached to the faucets on the outside of your home and cover the faucets with an insulated foam cover to prevent freezing working its way into your plumbing through the faucet.
There are some things you can do within the home as well, like ensuring your thermostat stays at at least 60 degrees, even if you are going out of town. Also, consider leaving cabinet doors under your sink open so the heat within your home can keep those water fixtures from freezing. Another thing that can be helpful is to keep water moving at night. Consider running your dishwasher at night while everyone is asleep and usage is minimal. Remember, the best way to prevent frozen water lines is to KEEP YOUR WATER RUNNING!
Before it gets too cold this winter you may want to check if your meter barrel has insulation in it (Or give us a call to check) to prevent the meter from freezing. You can either use insulation you have or we have foam pillows that are sized for the meter barrels. We install these pillows in every one of our meters, but sometimes they get taken out if a repair is done and not put back in. It never hurts to check and see if your meter has one.
Try not to drive directly over your meter lid in the winter. Even though the lid may or may not be traffic rated, driving over it can cause the frost to be driven deeper into the ground and freeze your water line. Also, do not remove any snow off of your meter if it is not necessary because the snow will actually help insulate the meter as well.
On the bottom of your water meter is a frost plate designed to break first if the meter happens to freeze. It has been designed this way in order to cause less damage to the rest of the meter and meter setter. Usually, in the winter, if you see water coming from your meter barrel, the frost plate has been damaged due to freezing water. So, if during the winter you have a decrease in water pressure or no water at all, check to see if you have water around your meter barrel. Typically, if your service line is not frozen and you have low pressure, it is an indication that the meter may be frozen. If your frost plate breaks this does not mean you will be charged for the water wasted in that leak because the water does not pass through the meter when the frost plate is broken. It comes out the bottom of the meter which does not read on the meter as usage.
If you suspect that your meter has frozen and you are out of service, please call the office so that we can send someone out to check, and try to thaw the service. Do Not attempt to thaw the meter on your own. If you damage the meter or electronics, you may be charged to replace them. We provide the first visit free of charge and can in many cases restore services.
Utah, and much of the Uintah Basin is currently in extreme drought conditions. Be cautious with your water use and follow recommended guidelines for outdoor watering. Visit https://water.utah.gov/water-data/drought/ for more info.