Residents reminded to winterize water meters

Ice is a relief on those sweltering summer days, but in the winter it can be an expensive headache.

Which is why the City of Craig water department advises residents to winterize their water meters before the cold turns running water to ice, potentially freezing a water meter or water line.

Water meters were not made to withstand extreme cold temperatures and need adequate protection. Failure to protect water meters could result in a freeze that could cost a homeowner hundreds of dollars.

According to Craig Water/Wastewater Department Supervisor Joe Theaman, homeowners are financially responsible for their water meters and the water line from the main or curb stop to their homes and any damage done to these components.

"Everybody should safeguard their water meters," Theaman said. "It's their responsibility."

According to Theaman, it could cost a homeowner $155 to $350 to replace a residential water meter. Larger water meters could cost up to $2,500 to replace.

Representatives from the City of Craig say the best method for winterizing water meters is to use heat tape. Wrap the heat tape around both meter and pipes in the meter pit and fill the pit with home insulation.

"The cost of the heat tape is small compared to plumbing repairs," Theaman said.

Another method is to pack the pit completely with insulation up to the lid. When the forecast is for extreme freezing temperatures, let a small stream of water run from an inside water faucet.

Most important, be sure a meter pit is sealed from all cold air. Water lines under a trailer must be given extra protection.

According to Theaman, there are two reasons winterizing water meters and pipes are necessary. First, if lines freeze, Theaman must shut off the water main, which means shutting off water to an entire area because of one home.

"It's a problem that becomes a problem for other people," he said. "Be a good neighbor."

Most meters are now a step ahead. When the water department replaced them, it added a foam insulating blanket on top of meter pits.

"It's a little added protection courtesy of the water department," Theaman said.

In case a resident's meter or water line freezes, Theaman advises they call a plumber.

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