Nevada City, California
December 1, 2015 6:27pm CST
I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and went to get a drink of water. All I got was a little trickle out of my faucet. Here I was thinking we were all prepared for the snow, cold and possible power outage. I forgot to leave the water going at a trickle to keep the pipes from freezing. I knew that this could be a big mistake, it could take days for the pipes to thaw. When my husband got up he went to the well house and put his propane heater on out there. I had the valves open in the bathtub, and soon I heard air and water spurting out of the faucet. Crisis averted. You can bet I won't make that mistake again, at least not this winter. Do you take steps to prevent your pipes from freezing? Photo by the author
16 people like this
• Salina, Kansas
2 Dec 15
I was just told I needed to turn my heater on before the weather started to get below freezing out. If I had my way I wouldn't have my furnace in, I would just use my space heaters. But I just turned the furnace on just a little bit so the pipes wouldn't freeze and I still use my space heaters. Lol.
• Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 Dec 15
Yup I had my pipes freeze three times within a month. I had a guy come out to unthaw my pipes it only took about an hour but I had to leave the faucet at a steady trickle so they wouldnt freeze again and that lasted for the entire winter and my water bill was really high. I didnt realize your pipes could freeze in Cali
• United States
6 Dec 15
If you can hear me from way over here in Florida, then I must ask "What is this madness you're speaking of? Frozen pipes? Huh? I thought things only froze when placed in the freezer - hence the name!" But I'll trust you at your word, Sherry! Interesting factoid, hot-water pipes generally tend to freeze first before cold-water pipes. And by "freeze" I mean to actually inhibit or impede the flow of water through them. The concept is referred to as the Mpemba effect, however the mechanism and validity of the effect are debatable under even more controlled conditions. Nevertheless, it can be observed in water pipes, although significant levels of impurities also are likely to play a role when comparing water pipes in this way too. By the way, how much does 'wasting' a winters worth of water to trickle/drip one's pipes ice-free all winter cost? Do you usually repurpose the water for other uses? Just curious...
• Nevada City, California
6 Dec 15
We are on a well. It does take electricity to pump the water though. I can't say how much it costs, but less than replacing the pipes. We can put a bucket under the facet to catch water for the dogs or whatever. It will usually overflow though. We don't have to run the water all the time, just at night when we are expecting a hard freeze.
• United States
6 Dec 15
@norcal Well, I'm on a well too, two wells to be specific. Although I get city water as...uhh...[I]well[/I]. But, my well-water (which some colleges and I dug many a'year ago) has recently become saturated with dissolved sulfides (H2S: that, oh, so pleasant, rotten egg smell). It's to acidic to use on many of my plants or my ponds (more specifically the fish that inhabit them dislike it when I kill them by adding some, so I don't do it!) I've all but stopped using it these days, since this was largely what I used it for anyway. Frankly, in my climate the only real danger involved might be the pump itself overheating. Quite a stark contrast from freezing water pipes I suppose. I've heard it's actually quite nice to have more than one season! I can almost remember covering a plant or two for a few nights one winter, to protect them from the "cold" when I was a bit younger! LOL... As far as using the water, I'm neither a critic nor a proponent of recycling, myself. I personally do my part by reusing/repurposing unused, antiquated or broken things I own rather than immediately junking them, and of course I don't just haphazardly or carelessly waste anything for no reason either when I can help it. But it does seem like quite a waste of water if you think about how many people must leave their water 'running' just a little during such very cold nights, weeks or however long in some cases! That's really the only reason I asked about it. Very interesting information in an area I'm totally unfamiliar with! Thx!
2 Dec 15
Usually we don't get temperatures much lower than -5 C ( 23F) here but it has fallen to about -15 C (5F) on occasions during extended snowy periods. If the weather is extremely cold during snowy weather, I leave the loft trapdoor open to allow some heat into the roof space to prevent any pipes or the water header tank from freezing. There is always the option of getting electrical heating wire which can be wrapped around pipes to prevent them freezing, but it probably wouldn't be worth the expense since it doesn't get really cold too often. Another option are small frost prevention electrical heaters which can be installed near points in the plumbing system which are vulnerable to cold. Pipes are supposed to be buried deep enough under the ground so that they don't freeze during normal duration spells of cold weather. However vulnerable points are where pipes rise towards the surface and are close to the inner side of old solid brick or concrete walls. Insulating these walls and burying plumbing without insulating it can cause problems. This is because heat from the room which originally prevented the pipes from freezing, is prevented from reaching the pipes. It's a good idea to "exercise" gate valves about once a year. Otherwise they can seize, and this is the last thing you want happening if water needs to be turned off in an emergency. Write the function of the valves on the wall behind them using a thick marker, or tie a label around the stem of the valve.
• Fairfield, Texas
2 Dec 15
Oh yeah @norcal . Since my brilliant (idiot) husband ran all our water lines only 12" at the deepest (most only 4"), I have to go out and wrap all upstanding pipes and spigots and plug in the heater on the main line into the house. I will be doing that today, as it should get slightly below freezing tonight and the next 2 nights as well.