We are remodeling a house right now and the temperatures have been getting down to 4 degrees Fahrenheit for the last few days. Since we haven't been running water, the water meter froze. This is an effective technique for thawing out the water meter to restore water flow to the house. There are also some other interesting surprises along the way to finally restoring running water to the house.
This Instructable involves the use of FIRE, so be careful not to burn yourself. Use standard precautions. Don't try this on a gas meter or anything like that.
Channel Lock Pliers/ or that 5-sided wrench thing
Step 1: Find out where the water is frozen.
When the water stops in the house, you first need to check the main shutoff valve in the house to make sure that it has not frozen there. (If there were Ice here, you would go out to the meter and shut off the valve and proceed to thaw out your pipe inside and prepare for a minor flood. Since it was ok, we went out to the meter to see what was going on. )
If the main Valve is ok, then go out to the meter and pull the lid off and inspect the meter
Step 2: Verify the Meter is Frozen & that the Water Company Didn't Shut off Your Water for Some Reason
Looking at the meter, we don't see a lock and the valve is in the open position. There are Ice crystals everywhere. The meter is probably frozen. Just to be safe, Call the emergency number for your water company and tell them you think your meter froze. Verify they haven't just turned off the water or that something is wrong with the main. If everything checks out, tell them what you plan to do to solve the problem. Or, if you want to be lazy, find out if they have a technician in the area that can solve the problem for you so you can go inside and get warm.
Otherwise proceed to next step.