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November 17, 2005

Contact: Natalie Millner (718) 595-6600

DEP Advises New Yorkers To Protect Their Water Meters and Pipes from Freezing

And remove leaves from catch basins to prevent flooding

New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd today cautioned City home and business owners that in unusually cold weather it is important to protect pipes, water meters and water service lines from freezing.

Commissioner Lloyd said, “Homeowners would be wise to take steps now to prevent their pipes and water meters from being damaged by the coming cold weather.  Not only could it save a lot of grief and inconvenience, but money as well – if a meter freezes and breaks because a homeowner has failed to take reasonable steps to protect it, the homeowner will be responsible for the cost of repairs. ”

Suggestions and tips to prevent freezing

  • Eliminate drafts from basements, crawl spaces and other unheated areas. Temperatures are lower near floors and foundation walls;

  • Turn off water to outside faucets, remove hoses and drain pipes;

  • If pipes or meters are located against an outside wall insulate the wall; if they are located in a cabinet, open cabinet door to allow warmer air to reach them.

  • Install storm windows on basement windows and tightly close basement doors and windows;

  • If you plan to be away for several days, ask someone to visit and turn on a faucet to ensure the water is still is flowing.

Steps to take if your service line, pipes or meters freeze

  • Open a hot-water faucet near the frozen point;

  • Direct a hair dryer or heat lamp at the frozen section, or put a small space heater nearby;


If you are unable to thaw the frozen pipes, call a licensed plumber.  If your meter is damaged or broken call the City at 311 or contact a licensed plumber.

Residents should also clear leaves in the street from the vicinity of storm drains and catch basins.  Leaves can clog catch basins and cause flooding.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600