A frozen meter cannot be used and you will be charged for its replacement (€203). In addition to this inconvenience, there may be significant damage when the ice thaws.
Insulating the meter and pipes is not an absolute guarantee against frost damage. Nevertheless, here are some tips and recommendations.
Who is responsible for what?
You are responsible for protecting the connection and accessories (including the meter and external boxes).
Leaks caused by thawing can cause you significant material and financial damage. The supply to the whole neighbourhood may also suffer, so think about that.
Think about insulating your installation
Above all, to limit the risk of damage, you must protect both the meter and the pipes and appliances (for example, your pressure reducing valve).
Your meter is outside a building (inspection chamber, etc.)
Seal the inside of the chamber with an insulating material (polystyrene sheets, bag of polystyrene balls, straw wrapped in film or plastic bag). The lid must also be completely watertight. To be safe, cover it with plastic sheeting and then with soil.
Check that you do not have external pipes that also need to be insulated.
If necessary, maintain a constant circulation in the system by letting a thin stream of water flow through (only in case of extreme necessity as this is very costly).
Your meter is located in the cellar or garage
Try to keep the temperature above 0°C.
Ideally, the temperature of the premises should be kept above 0°C. To achieve this, you can take preventive measures:
- seal off potential cold air inlets (e.g. door seals) while maintaining sufficient ventilation to comply with gas safety requirements;
- for greater safety, wrap the meter and pipes with a perfectly dry insulating material: polystyrene sheets, polyurethane foam. Avoid materials that absorb moisture, such as cloth, newspaper or glass wool;
- if necessary, install a heating tape on the installation, taking care to avoid melting the plastic pipes, and wrap it in insulation to limit electricity consumption;
- if necessary, maintain a constant circulation in the system by letting a thin stream of water flow (only in case of extreme necessity as this is very costly);
- if your home is going to be unoccupied for a long time, follow our list of things to do if you are going to be away for a long time.
How do I test if my system is frozen?
1. Take a bucket and open drain valve no. 6 to test the system.
- If water is flowing through the drain valve, your system is functional and not frozen.
- If there is no flow through drain valve no. 6, your meter is probably frozen.
2. Do not forget to close drain valve no. 6.
What to do if your pipes freeze
If your installation is frozen, our hydraulic engineers cannot respond as long as the water is frozen.
This means that there is no point in calling our services until you have thawed it. At this point, we will probably need to replace your meter that has been damaged by frost. In this case, please call us on 087 / 87 87 87.
Procedure to unfreezing an installation
Before starting to thaw the installation, check that all your taps, including drain valve no. 6, are properly closed. If possible, close stopcock no. 5 and slowly reopen it after thawing.
To thaw out a frozen installation, use a hair dryer (do not use a heat gun, as it may damage the plastic pipes) or a heating device (portable heater) placed close to the pipes. This is a slow process that could take several hours. Test drain valve no. 6 regularly to check the effectiveness of the thawing actions.
During thawing operations, to avoid damage, monitor your installation very regularly, as frozen water occupies a larger volume than liquid water, and the phenomenon could have caused a component of the installation to burst, resulting in a leak as soon as the water thaws.
Pour dégeler une installation gelée, utilisez un sèche-cheveux (surtout pas de décapeur thermique qui risquerait de détériorer les canalisations plastiques) ou un dispositif de chauffage (radiateur portable) que vous placerez non loin des canalisations.
- Stopcock for your private installation (no. 5 on the diagram) : if you find that your installation does not have one or that it is defective, contact your plumber immediately to remedy this as soon as possible. This stopcock is compulsory and must allow you to turn off your private installation for modifications, repairs, etc.
- Stopcock, property of SWDE (no. 2 on the diagram): in exceptional cases we allow you to close it, although it is normally intended exclusively to replace the meter.
Protecting your water system during a long absence
Will your home be unoccupied for a long time? Follow our list of things to do to protect your installation.