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Old 01-12-2011, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Centennial State
399 posts, read 666,868 times
Reputation: 176

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I was driving around in Westminster and saw an apartment complex with a couple of signs saying "Let your faucets drip to avoid bursting pipes". What exactly does that say about the apartment or homes that have to do that? I have never had to do that in the winter for the past 16 years I've lived in this house.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:20 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
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Lousy insulation.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:14 AM
 
Location: SE Portland, OR
1,167 posts, read 2,141,510 times
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true, unless you're gone for weeks at a time and don't leave the heat on.
Here is Oregon everybody is really paranoid about this. I find it pretty comical, as it gets below freezing about 6 days a year.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:19 AM
 
11,715 posts, read 35,005,397 times
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I saw the same thing at a complex I looked at in the Lone Tree area a couple of winters ago. It might have been Park Meadows. Those aren't exactly old or low rent either.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Northern MN
3,869 posts, read 12,498,951 times
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It could be for some of the reasons mentioned.
some of the time it has to do with the depth of snow cover as it insulates the ground and the depth of the water main or feeder line.

Our city will actually tell some residents to leave the facet drip to help prevent there water service from freezing. It has nothing to do with the pipes in the house but it could if your home was built disregarding the local building codes or of it is an older building.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,231 times
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I've seen this in my apt complex and a few others of people I know also, sounds kind of bogus? It's not like any businesses are doing that
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:50 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,834,746 times
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Wink Better than insurance

I'll guarantee you it works.

Ideally this would not be necessary, and with perfect design it is not. However in an imperfect world many will discover that their house that has weathered several winters without incident might suffer frozen pipes in a cold snap. Particularly if unusual cold is prolonged for several days.

It only takes one spot. Say a pipe that runs within an outside wall, or other colder spot, when all else are warmer within. It can freeze, and if solidly enough the expanding ice will rupture the pipe. Unless noticing a lack of running water from that one pipe, which may see little use, you will not even know anything has happened until sometime later when it eventually melts, and then you might as well have left a faucet on inside the wall. A lot of water damage will ensue in short order.

If the weather colder than usual, if at all in doubt, leaving a slight trickle of hot and cold water from faucets will help significantly in keeping pipes from freezing. Running water does not freeze as easily as still. Not all faucets need to be open, but water in all the pipes should run, so if unsure of how the house is plumbed, best to let a little water run from every faucet, or at least in zones most likely affected. Strange as it might seem, hot water lines can actually freeze more easily than cold, as the water less dense.

Something else that can be done, if leaving the house for several days or longer, is to shut off the main water. This can be as easy as turning a quarter-turn valve in an easily accessible place, but a pain if the only shutoff is buried out by the street. But such things can be installed. If doing that, and any pipe break inside, say because the power went out, then the only water escaping would be from latent pressure of the house lines, not the flood that would otherwise occur.

If a house is so plumbed, all water lines can be emptied by shutting off the main water inlet, then opening valves to to drain water by gravity from hot and cold lines. When not plumbed for gravity, sometimes plumbers use air pressure to vacate the lines. Some type of anti-freeze then needs to be added, a bit to standing water in every sink trap, baths and showers, and toilets. None of this is necessary for occupied homes, but works well for vacation homes, or when gone for extended periods.

Some homes are built for the ages, most are not. The rare exception without some imperfection. Just a slight trickle of water if in need is better than insurance.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:44 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 35,005,397 times
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When people drip their faucets, how fast do they let it run? It is a slow drip, fast drip, or an actual continuous stream of water?
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:57 AM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,834,746 times
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Wink Amount of flow

Q: How much water to run?

As little as possible, but more than a steady drip. Just beyond that, in a continuous flow, but just a slight trickle. Enough so that there is a definite steady flow through the pipes. Although best to error on the side of too much flow, any more than a trickle is just a waste of water.

This is not a technique to use whenever the outside temperature dips below freezing, but when there may be a perceived real need. It helps to know the house well enough to know if and when that might be.
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