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Should you let your faucets drip in freezing weather or not? With starting of the winter, this question comes to mind. People use the dripping faucets strategy to prevent freezing pipes and faucets. In the cold weather, people care about their walls, floors, and electrical equipment, and keep water hot, but they forget to protect the plumbing of the house, and as result, pipes burst if freezing water expands inside it.
When the temperature drops, what things you should do to prevent water from freezing in the pipes. A broken supply line to the faucet can be messy and it will cost you heavily. How fast pipes freeze depends on the material quality and size of the pipe.
A dripping faucet is good to prevent freezing but it also increases water wastage and water bills. Here in this guide, we are sharing some tips to prevent freezing faucets without wasting much water. It will also keep the water bill low.
Why Should You Let Your Faucets Drip In Freezing Weather?
It is recommended by plumbing experts to keep faucets dripping in the freezing weather so pipes won’t freeze. A water drop every 2-3 seconds keeps the water running into the pipe. Running water takes time to get frozen in comparison to standing water.
Water expands as it freezes. This expansion creates high pressure on whatever is containing water. If you have never seen frozen pipe in the house, let us explain by an example.
We all use refrigerators to keep food items, water, cold drinks, etc to keep them cold. In every refrigerator, there is a freezer that makes ice. So, the temperature of it is very low. If you have ever put a water bottle inside the freezer to quickly cool it and forgot to take it out, you would have seen ice in the bottle.
The same happens with the pipes. When the temperature goes down, water in pipes starts freezing. Freezing water starts expanding and when it doesn’t get space to expand, it starts creating pressure on the pipe, and at last pipe bursts.
But with frozen pipes, there is a problem that we can’t find from where water is frozen in the pipe. People think, dripping water increases their water bill but believe us this bill is nothing in front of repairing a burst pipeline.
Outdoor faucets and pipes are at high risk of freezing. Because the temperature outside the house drops quickly. Due to frozen water, you can’t do any washing or bathing work. So, to prevent water from freezing, keep some faucets open so little amount of water drops from them.
At What Temperature Does Faucet Pipe Freeze
The quality of every pipe is different so the minimum temperature on that pipe starts freezing may be different. But 20 F is considered a freezing point for the pipe and faucet. Below this temperature pipe starts freezing.
If water is dripping from the faucet in your house then the minimum temperature also reduces for it and the chances of it freezing become less. Pipes that are in direct contact with cold air have higher chances of quickly freezing.
Why Should You Drip Kitchen Faucets In The Freezing Weather?
In the house, a kitchen faucet is used widely. We use it from filling pots to cleaning dishes. But when the water of the faucet pipeline freezes, it becomes useless. So, it is a good idea to allow the kitchen faucet drips slowly.
When you allow the faucet to drip, it keeps water in running condition. All you need to do is a trickle of the water to keep it running. In our testing, we have found a slow drip of the water will a gallon of water in an hour that is much cheaper than repairing a broken faucet pipeline.
When water expands, the pipes can’t handle the additional pressure and they burst. You will see a flood in the house due to a burst pipe. If the pipes start leaking due to a crack, it will damage the flooring or wall of the house.
You need to encourage water movement through the kitchen faucet pipes by allowing dripping water from the faucet. When the temperature starts dropping to a sub-freezing level, you should keep the faucet handle on for dripping water. Although few drops of water don’t increase the water bill.
How Many Faucets Should I Leave Dripping To Prevent Freezing?
Is one faucet enough to prevent freezing or do you have to keep more than one faucet on? We all know running water less quickly freezes compared to standing water. So, if the temperature hasn’t reached up to a freezing point, only a single faucet is enough to keep running.
Connections of pipes are also responsible for a number of dripping faucets. In the cold weather, it is not necessary to keep all faucets dripping.
You don’t need to drip those faucets that are connected to the only hot water supply. Hot water pipes won’t freeze.
On the other side, all cold faucets are at risk of freezing but if more than one faucet is connected to a single pipeline then only the last faucet is needed to drip. Water will travel through the entire line so the last dripping faucet will work for all.
So according to the pipe connections, you can decide whether you need to open a few faucets or all faucets in the house.
How To Save Water When Water Is Dripping From The Faucet?
In the winter, most people keep the faucet handle on so water drips from the faucet. If only a single faucet drips then the amount of wastage of the water is not high.
In big houses, wastage of water increases and its impact on the environment and water bill. To reduce the wastage, first don’t open all faucets to drip.
Check the pipe connection of the house and understand the flow of the water. If a pipe is giving water to more than one faucet then no need to open all faucets. You should try the below tricks to save water.
Always try to open the last faucet of the pipeline. Experts recommend that drip the faucet that is furthest away from the starting of the pipe.
Because water will travel in the whole line to reach the furthest faucet and this will keep water in running condition.
Tips To Prevent Freezing Faucets
- A dripping faucet is the best tip to prevent freezing.
- Seal all cracks and holes in the house that are responsible for getting cold air inside.
- In the market, heating tape is available. You can apply this tape to the pipes to keep them hot.
- If you are going on a trip for a few days, keep the heat of the home at a normal level by adjusting the thermostat.
- Open cabinet doors so warm air goes inside the cabinet and it will prevent water from freezing.
- Wrap all outdoor faucets and pipes and all those pipes inside the house that are in unheated areas.
- Cover vents of the house so cold air doesn’t come inside.
Frequently Asked Questions
What To Do If Faucets Pipes Frozen?
The best way to deal with a frozen faucet pipe is dripping water. Let the cold-water supply of the faucet drips continuously. Dripping water reduces the water pressure and water doesn’t reach a frozen state.
How To Thaw Frozen Pipes In The House?
If your pipes are frozen but still, they didn’t burst, you can thaw frozen water inside the pipe. To make water into liquid from the solid state, you need to heat the pipe. For this, a heat gun is a good tool. But this is not available in all houses so you can use a common thing which can be found easily in any house and that is a hairdryer. It will thaw frozen pipes in the house.
How Much Dripping Is Required To Prevent Freezing?
You don’t need to run water continuously from the faucet. On average 5 drops, a minute is enough to prevent water from freezing.
Now you know should you let your faucets drip in freezing weather or not. When the temperature goes down, water starts freezing. This is a common situation for all those people who are leaving in the cold region. A dripping faucet is essential so you can do washing and cooking work. Few drops every minute will prevent the faucet from freezing.
Hi, I am Ralph Matthews. I have been doing plumbing work for the last 20 years. I have created FaucetShowerGuide blog to share my plumbing experience with people. My main moto to create FaucetShowerGuide blog is to give the right guidance to my reader so they can select the best faucet and other products for the kitchen and bathroom.