City offers advice for preventing plumbing woes


Fairborn Daily Herald

FAIRBORN — While there has been little snow so far this winter season, temperatures have fell well below freezing, which can become a danger to plumbing structures. When pipes and meters freeze, it can be an inconvenient cost in both time and money to repair. However, there is proper preventative maintenance that can protect both your wallet and your home.

Interim Utilities Superintendent Marcus Lehotay said residents need to know where their water shut off valve is located, and to make sure it is operational before an emergency occurs. If a pipe becomes frozen or breaks, water will need to be shut off immediately. The longer it takes to shut off the valve, the more damage that can occur.

Residents can also help themselves when temperatures are below freezing by allowing a small stream of water to flow from the faucet as running water prevents ice from forming.

“The cost of dripping water pales in comparison to plumbing repair costs,” said Lehotay.

Additionally, it is important to protect the water meter from freezing. One of the most common winter complaints received by the City of Fairborn Water and Sewer Division is frozen water meters. Once frozen, a meter must be replaced with the cost being born by the customer. When a meter freezes, a plate on the bottom of the meter breaks and then, typically, begins to leak. Wrapping any exposed piping and meter in insulation material, also known as pipe lagging, or using heat tape meeting appropriate electrical standards, is an effective way to prevent the meter from freezing.

The most common areas to have a pipe freeze is in unheated interior spaces, such as attics, basements and garages; pipes that run through cabinets and on exterior walls are also at risk. If a water meter is in a cabinet or closed off room, make sure the doors stay open so that warm air can circulate in and around the meter. Remember it is less expensive to do preventative maintenance than to do a full repair.

If a water related problem is experienced weekdays during 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., Fairborn residents should call the Division of Water and Sewer at 937-754-3097. After hours, holiday and weekend water emergencies can be responded to by calling the city’s emergency dispatch center at 937-754-3000, although there may be a charge for such responses. During water emergencies, do not rely on voice or e-mail messages as these are generally only reviewed during normal business hours.

Story courtesy of the City of Fairborn.

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