Does One Dripping Faucet Really Prevent Frozen Pipes?

It’s that time of year again, when cold, frigid temperatures and messy weather begin to roll in. For many people, that means having to deal with the possibility of frozen faucets. That begs the question: how much value does one dripping faucet have? The answer: a lot if it keeps your home’s water pipes from bursting. Burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during a bout of freezing temperatures, with homeowner claims averaging more than $10,000. The cost of a water leak from frozen pipes is even higher for business owners, where claims average $27,000 but can occasionally reach into the millions. Can one dripping faucet really save the day? If it’s the right one, it can. The dripping faucet should be as far away from the water source as possible so the water will flow through the entire length of the system. If you’re not sure where the incoming water source is located, setting any faucet to drip will help. A common misconception is that the drip prevents water from freezing because it stays in motion through the pipes. Although that helps, the truth is that at extreme temperatures water can freeze even while its flowing. The real reason a dripping faucet can help prevent pipes from bursting is that the constant drip relieves pressure that’s building up in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet, and helps prevent them from bursting when the pipes begin to thaw. It’s also a good idea to know where the main shut-off valve is in your home in case a pipe does burst or leak. If you know how to quickly shut off this water source, it could turn a huge flooding disaster into a minor inconvenience and save you money in the process.