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    Extreme Cold Weather Tips from Grand Rapids Water System
    Locate & Mark your Water Main Shutoff
    It is very important to know where the main water shut off valve is located inside of your home.  If a pipe breaks anywhere in the house – kitchen, bath, basement or crawl space – this valve will turn off the water.  Typically it is located near the water meter, where the water line enters the building.  Clearly mark the valve and ensure everyone in the home knows where it is located and what it does.  This will allow you and others to find the valve quickly in an emergency. 
    Protect your Water Meter
    It is the property owner’s responsibility to protect the water meter from freezing and damage.  The space where the meter is located must be heated to protect it from freezing.  Cost for replacement of a frozen or damaged meter is charged to the property owner.   
    Extra precautions that you can take during the extreme cold temperatures include:
    ·      Pipes located next to an outside wall are most susceptible to freezing temperatures, as are pipes located in a garage or other unheated building.  Exposed pipes in these areas should be wrapped or insulated, or alternatively shut off and drained prior to winter.  If this is not possible, leave the tap slightly open.  The running water may help to keep the line from freezing
    ·      Open cupboard doors under sinks, and where possible, open other areas where pipes run, especially where plumbing is in an exterior wall, to let interior heat warm the pipes
    ·      Temporarily keep a steady, but slow drip of cold water at an inside faucet farthest from the meter to keep water moving and less likely to freeze
    ·      If you are away for more than a day, shut off your water and leave the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher to reduce the chance of broken pipes
    ·      Be a good neighbor and notify Grand Rapids Water System at 456-3200 if you suspect or notice a leak at a vacant home or building
    If your water pipes do freeze:
    ·      NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with a torch or an open flame; a hair dryer, a fan or blower such as the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner are safer alternatives.
    ·      Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water.  You could be electrocuted. 
    ·      If the lines are frozen, they may be broken or split so it is safest to contact a licensed plumber to avoid damage when pipes thaw.  If you plan to do it     yourself, purchase repair clamps at a plumbing store, and be prepared to turn your water off when the pipes thaw
    ·      If there is no water to your home, the water may have been shut off to repair a broken water main in the street.  If you are provided water by Grand Rapids Water System and need more information you can call us at 456-3200or at the 24/7 after-hours emergency number at 456-3249.