During feezing weather, I like to leave a faucet dripping to reduce the
chances of freezing pipe. However, people including me sometimes forget and
turn off the faucet completely.
Is there a dedicated valve that can be installed under the sink to let a
trickle of water out and directly into the p trap? This way nobody sees the
dripping and cannot accidentally turn it off.
I did see a pipe freeze, one time, in a farm house.
I was watching house for Farmer Bob. Kitchen sink, on
exterior wall. I opened up under the sink cabinet,
and put a fan, and threw some more wood on the fire.
Loosened up after a while, fortunately.
On Fri, 29 Nov 2013 11:26:37 -0500, Stormin Mormon
Sure, that's not uncommon. The problem is the moron who ran the pipes
in an uninsulated (or improperly insulated) wall in the first place.
Pipes should never be run in exterior walls where sub-zero
temperatures are common. Care should be taken that they're properly
insulated if there is even a chance of freezing weather.
In the case above, the cabinet keeps the room heat from getting to
that area. Letting water drip (or small stream) will often keep the
pipe from freezing because you're pulling heat from elsewhere in the
structure into that space and moving the water out before it can
On 11/29/2013 6:37 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It's mollecular allignment, not moving heat from
other parts of the house.
In Farmer Bob's house, he's got a well, and pump.
And septic. I didn't want to leave it drip, wasn't
sure if the septic lines would freeze.
Real tough to tell if you are serious, but I'll play along...
Define "dripping" in terms of enough to prevent freezing.
Why are you concerned with this particular faucet freezing in the first
There's lot of details that you should be sharing.
This is recommended up here in the PNW whenever we get a lengthy cold
snap (as we are getting now). The idea is that a little flow somewhere
in the house keeps the water moving, and prevents freezing/ruptured pipes.
Just read one such recommendation a few days ago, actually.
Never done it myself, and have never had any trouble (I do cover the
outside hose bib, however).
I am familiar with the concept that running water does not freeze. That
still leaves the question of what the OP means by "dripping". I could take
a faucet apart, deform the washer or nick the seat and cause the faucet to
drip even when fully turned off. However, will that be enough to prevent
freezing? I don't know, because I don't know how much the OP wants the
faucet to drip.
As I said earlier, there are lots of details the OP should be sharing if
(s)he wants a definitive solution to the problem.
You're sure about that?
Frozen water doesn't run...but that's confusing cause and effect.
Dripping the faucet has nothing to do with flow.
It's all about the thermodynamics of putting heat in faster than
it radiates to keep the temperature above freezing.
If you have a source of unfrozen water running at a rate that
gets it to the dripping faucet before radiation/conduction/convection
causes the water
to freeze at any point in the pipe you're good to go.
Dripping the bathroom faucet typically won't do much for the kitchen pipe.
Dripping is most effective when you have a short run of pipe that's
exposed to the cold, but the rest is much warmer.
If you have a quick response thermometer, you can do the experiment.
Let the system sit for a while. Then turn on the faucet and watch
the temperature. You'll see where the pipe is most exposed to the cold
as a function of time.
When I replaced the water service, I discussed the issue with the inspector.
He insists that water meters don't freeze, even tho they're much more
exposed than the rest of the buried pipe. When I started talking
thermodynamics, his eyes glazed over.
Yes it does. Dripping at the faucet causes and is equivalent to
flow. from where the water enters the house to where it drips.
Whetther the drip rate is enough or not to keep t he water from
freezing doesn't change that.
True, but if the water spends less time in the pipe, it has less time
to radiate heat. If there is no drip, it can spend 16 hours or more
at a time in the same spot of the pipe. Much more if the kitchen
isn't used. If it's dripping, it might only spend 10 minutes, or 3
hours, but still less than without a drip.
My friends bought a new house and the first winter a pipe running up
to the second floor, right by the back door, froze and leaked. When
they opened the wall, they saw the insulation had been put on the
wrong side of the pipe.
Of course not. I don't think he was suggesting that. I thought he
was trying to get the pipe that is dripping not to freeze.
From this paragraph on, I think we are agreeing.
Do you think he's right. I don't have a water meter and neither do
my 100 neighbors, so I have no experience with them.
On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 23:23:40 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03
Running water doesn't freeze because:
1. If it froze it wouldn't be running.
2. It's moving heat from somewhere else.
In this case, a running faucet doesn't freeze because or #2. The
water doesn't stand in the cold part of the pipe long enough to cool
off the freezing point. If the "drip" doesn't move enough water to
keep the temperature above the freezing point, it will freeze. The
fact that the water is moving is irrelevant.
On 11/27/2013 3:08 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Insulating the pipe is usually a good thing.
It may be the solution.
If the water is not moving and bringing in more heat, insulation will
just mean it takes longer to freeze. It may be that there's enough
thru the water and the pipe from a part of the pipe in a warm
environment to keep the temperature up. But insulation on the warm
part of the pipe reduces that effect.
Most home dwellers won't have the knowledge to figure out the fine details.
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