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Drain, drip, or both? #8175625 02/19/21 12:22 AM
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Texas Dan Online Content OP
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I've seen a lot of conflicting information being spread when it comes to keeping pipes from freezing. My approach has always been that it you can't keep the inside of your home heated during severe cold, it's best to open all the faucets and drain all the pipes. I heard a report that some plumbers say this doesn't work unless you use a compressor and the necessary fittings needed to blow out all residual water. I have seen a case where a section of pipe in an old house trailer froze after draining, but it appeared to be because of the poor job that had been done to install the piping, which left a sag in a long section of PVC pipe. I'm thinking that in most cases where pipe is installed correctly, there is less chance of this happening. Still, even if some residual water is left behind, common sense dictates there are far fewer places where water can freeze had the pipes not been drained.

The other example of conflicting reports focuses on draining pipes. This has always worked for me, given the house is heated and the faucets are periodically checked to make sure they don't stop dripping. I even heard a plumber recommend using a "spaghetti thin" run of water to ensure a minimal amount of water continues to flow through the pipe and faucet should the water pressure drop as others follow the same practice.

Comments?

Last edited by Texas Dan; 02/19/21 12:25 AM.

Dan

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175629 02/19/21 12:25 AM
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Run the faucets, not a drip


343 NEVER FORGET !!
Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Brad Hardt] #8175632 02/19/21 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad Hardt
Run the faucets, not a drip


Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill


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Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175663 02/19/21 12:46 AM
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I checked one of my faucets to see how much it was actually running. It was hot and cold mixed in one faucet and it was about 18 oz. per minute(I had 3 faucets running) since last Saturday. Better be safe than sorry. My well or anything else never froze, but I had it wrapped good(3 layers) with heat lamp, plus heat lamps on pressure tank in garage with electric heater and 60,000 BTU propane heater/griddle that I ran 4-5 times per day when it got down to - 4 degrees. Gonna let them run/drip one more night just to be safe and maybe we can breath a little .

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175693 02/19/21 01:02 AM
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I also heard about the water being about the diameter of angel hair pasta. It was from a plumbing blog, written by a plumber. That’s what I did this week after we had the kitchen sink cold pipe and drain freeze that I was able to thaw and get operational again.

I’ve also seen some recommend that you should (or could get away with) drip/trickle the faucet furthest from the water source, because this circulates water through the whole house. My house is so old that I don’t know if that’s how our plumbing was done, so I’ve been dripping all faucets off and on except the kitchen one, that’s been dripping 100% of the time since I got it thawed.


Originally Posted by bill oxner
I just turned it on . I was looking bird dogs in the butt this morning.


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Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: bill oxner] #8175697 02/19/21 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by bill oxner
Originally Posted by Brad Hardt
Run the faucets, not a drip



This photo was taken inside a home in Houston where the pipes were only left dripping with no power or heat for at least a couple of days. I don't know if the dripping ever stopped.

[Linked Image]


Last edited by Texas Dan; 02/19/21 01:05 AM.

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Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175714 02/19/21 01:18 AM
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Slight run of all faucets, did not expect a problem but was good insurance. So far so good. The trailer house mentioned by Texas Dan would be a complete set of problems I would think.

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175738 02/19/21 01:38 AM
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'Spaghetti' worked for me; -3 degrees here and none froze.
Very important to let the 'hot' side run too - helps protect the supply line running into the Hot water heater.

Very easy to TEST by putting a thermometer into the stream (or a small cup filled by stream):
- if it's coming out close to 32 increase the flow.
- this only works testing the 'COLD' side...(unless your HW heater is totally powered down/not running).

x2 on running again Tonight - supposed to get to 9 degrees here....

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175747 02/19/21 01:45 AM
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Our pipes froze, I managed to get water flowing again. After that we dropped them, maybe 20 drips a minute. They never froze again


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Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175754 02/19/21 01:51 AM
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Spaghetti for me also, since last Friday on 3 faucets and 1 tub. All good so far, but the septic tank is full.

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175756 02/19/21 01:53 AM
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When you have almost no pressure you are happy with a weak stream. Voice of experience, we'll see what happened in the AM.

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175776 02/19/21 02:05 AM
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One more night of this dripping/running water .


Not all those that wander are lost..
The first 5 days after the weekend are the hardest

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Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175783 02/19/21 02:09 AM
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Didn't have to do anything with this house, had geneartor and heat but What's that water a running for days do to your septics if you have one? Guess you would have to have a hellava drain field.

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: glens] #8175808 02/19/21 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by glens
Didn't have to do anything with this house, had geneartor and heat but What's that water a running for days do to your septics if you have one? Guess you would have to have a hellava drain field.


I was able to keep our home warm as well with my generator but still had a cold water pipe freeze in a cavity between the tub and an outside wall for the first time. It was a south-facing wall too but I thought the inside warmth would eliminate the need to keep a drip going in the shower. It hit me later there was an access plate that I could use to heat the area up with the wife's blow dryer, which worked well to thaw the pipe with no apparent damage. I'll be removing the plate from now on whenever we get the severe cold and doing likewise with another access plate to the tub cavity for an upstairs bathroom that's next to a north-facing wall.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 02/19/21 02:29 AM.

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Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: glens] #8175812 02/19/21 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by glens
Didn't have to do anything with this house, had geneartor and heat but What's that water a running for days do to your septics if you have one? Guess you would have to have a hellava drain field.


Another thread on this but I think it depends on the type. Our aerobic system has been fine with pipes dripping as long as we have power to push water. Another forum member was filled up with a conventional system.

Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: glens] #8175816 02/19/21 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by glens
Didn't have to do anything with this house, had geneartor and heat but What's that water a running for days do to your septics if you have one? Guess you would have to have a hellava drain field.


We have a aerobic septic w/ 3 sprinkler heads.


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Re: Drain, drip, or both? [Re: Texas Dan] #8175837 02/19/21 02:46 AM
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We are all-electric and had to rely on fireplaces and space heaters without power for 108 hours. We stayed just above 50F inside at -3F and did nothing special for plumbing except stuffing my water meter box full of bubble wrap. My 1" water supply enters my basement wall 24" below grade and none of the distribution lines are on outside walls.

It's an old house, but the guy who designed it was paying attention.


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