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Bursting of water pipes dues to freezing temperatures is a common problem in many areas of the world. If you are living in one of those areas and encountering the same problem, this article is for you.
Don’t let the situation aggravate to the point where you have a broken pipe since replacements can be expensive. It’s best to act beforehand and take preventive measures when the temperatures are low.
If you’re asking yourself, how many faucets should I let drip, you’ll get your answer here. Keep reading, and you’ll learn all about protecting your house plumbing against the freezing temperatures outside.
Why do water pipes burst?
If the temperatures in your area start to fall below 32 degrees, you should be aware that the plumbing in your house is at risk of bursting at any time. But what causes the burst?
You will remember from your science lesson as a kid that water freezes when it expands. That’s precisely the reason behind this phenomenon. Upon freezing, water can exert pressure as high as 2300 pounds per square inch on the pipes. Most pipes, constructed out of metal or PVC, aren’t designed to handle that kind of pressure and while snap.
The pipes located in the unheated spaces within your house are at a greater risk of bursting. These places may include your attic, garage, or your bathroom. Pipes located around the exterior wall of the house are at an even higher risk.
Why is it a problem?
A broken water pipe can release gallons of water each hour. Not only will you be wasting an invaluable resource, but it will also result in a huge mess in your home. It will results in massive damage to your furniture, carpets, not to mention the cost of repairs and replacements. You should take necessary measures in advance and protect your home against this costly mess.
When to let your faucets drip?
One solution to prevent frozen pipes is to let your home faucets drip. A dripping faucet keeps the water mobile in your plumbing system and relieves any pressure that may be building up within the pipes.
Here are some situations when it’s ideal to leave faucet dripping to avoid freezing pipes.
Before the freezing temperatures
Everyone has a weather app installed on their phone, especially those living in extreme climates. If you don’t, get one now!
At what temperature should you drip faucets? If you know that the temperature is going to drop to 32 degrees or below in a few hours, leave a couple of faucets, two to three, dripping slowly at different locations in your house.
Do check the forecast before going to bed so that you know if you should be leaving the faucets to drip through the night. You only need to turn the tap on slightly. The dripping shouldn’t even be audible; keep it that low.
In freezing temperatures, above 32 degrees, or when it’s snowing, it’s very important to let the faucets drip. The faucets to be left dripping are ones located around the outside wall and areas inside your home that are not heated.
The kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and attic are some of the locations that are usually left unheated by most homes. These are all the areas where you should leave your faucets dripping to prevent the pipes from freezing or worse, busting.
In your absence
If you’re planning to go away for a couple of days or more, remember to take some necessary precautions to keep your house plumbing safe in your absence. You must be wondering how many faucets should I let drip when going on a vacation?
Don’t worry; no need to waste water unnecessarily. Only leave a single cold water faucet dripping, the one that’s located the furthest from the point where water is supplied into your home. By leaving the furthest faucet dripping, you will make sure that the entire plumbing around the house is safe from the cold.
Other than leaving the faucet dripping, also remember to set the thermostat that controls your house heating to a suitable temperature. It should turn the heater on when the temperature falls below 54 degrees so that the water pipes within your home are safe.
Additional tips to beat the cold and protect your pipes
Letting your faucets dripping is one way to prevent freezing and bursting of water pipes. There are a couple of additional measures that you can take to be thorough:
- Look around the house, inside and outside, and see if there are any openings where the air could get in. Seal these properly, either yourself or get it done by a professional.
- Keep the kitchen sink cabinets and bathrooms open so that they are also kept warm through the heating system of the house.
- Apply heating tape to the pipes that are most prone to freezing, the ones located in the non-heated areas of the house.
- Find the main water valve supplying water to the entire house and remember its location. This knowledge will help you in the worst-case scenario if a pipe bursts. By turning off the main water supply, you’ll save your house from flooding in such a situation.
Did you find your answer to how many faucets should I let drip? Besides finding out when and how many faucets to leave dripping around your house, you also learned a bunch of other useful measures that you could take. By now, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge to get you through the freezing winters without facing any damage to your plumbing. Now put your experience to good use and save your water pipes before it’s too late.