During the cold winter months, your home's plumbing is susceptible to damage from freezing. Homeowners go to great lengths to insulate the pipes beneath sinks, in crawl spaces, or at the point where they enter the home. However, there's another vulnerable spot---the water meter. In some communities, it's the homeowner's responsibility to insulate the water meter before the temperatures drop.
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Things you need
- Insulating pad
- Dry leaves
- Packing peanuts
- Large plastic bag
Locate your home's water meter pit. This may be in the front of the yard, near the street, in an alley behind the yard or in an easement. If you live in a rural area, it may be along a county road. The pit contains the water meter and the pipes that connect to the water main and to your home's water supply.
Remove the manhole-type cover to expose the meter and the pipes in the pit. Depending on the frost line in your area, the meter may sit a couple of feet below ground level or it may be a few feet deeper.
Add insulation to the pit. Round insulating pads, made specifically for water meter pits, are available at lumberyards and do-it-yourself centres, but you can make your own insulation inexpensively. A large garbage bag filled with dry leaves or packing peanuts will protect your meter from freezing temperatures.
Use enough insulation to cover the meter and make contact with the sides of the pit. In deeper pits, this may mean adding two bags full of leaves; in a shallow pit, you may have room for only one partially filled bag.
Tips and warnings
- Keep the insulation within reach for easy retrieval. If the meter pit is deep, it may be difficult to retrieve the bag in the spring. For deep pits, a large leaf-type lawn bag, filled completely, will be easy to grab and pull out.
- If you don't have the traditional insulating materials, just about anything that offers an insulation factor will do. Carpet pad remnants, wadded newspaper, a bag of old rags or even an old blanket will protect your meter during the winter.
- Avoid using thin plastic bags that may snag and rip when you remove the insulation in the spring. Otherwise, you may end up with a pit full of dry leaves that you must remove.
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