SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — With water pipes freezing, some residents are improperly trying to fix the situation causing more harm than good.

Christie Barnheart – Missouri American Water External Affairs Manager, said, “We have a lot of customers who of course their plumbing is freezing up in their homes, and what they’re doing is instead of using their internal shut-off valve to turn off the water, they are going out to the meter pit and popping open the meter lid.”

Not only is what they’re doing creating more challenges, but fiddling with it shouldn’t even be a thought.

“The meter pit and the meter is property of the water company, and customers are not to be touching it.”

But for the people who are they’re creating more damage than they realize.

“When you pop off that meter lid, you’re basically breaking a seal that’s kept that water meter protected. It’s almost like ripping the insulation off of an object.”

While many people are trying to fix the problem themselves, Christie Barnheart says that they should leave it to the professionals.

“Instead of being able to turn the meter on, or get the problem fixed immediately, they’re also having to do things to prepare the damages that was done to the meter by the customer.”

Christie Barnheart says there are things you can do to prevent these circumstances in the first place.

“One, let the trickle of water run. Two, open the doors to, the cabinet doors to any faucets, let them get exposure to some of the warmer air. Three, know where your internal shut-off valve is for your water. Find out where that is, and if you do have a problem, go to that to turn off the water.”