Do You Really Need to Drip Faucets When the Temperature Dips Below Freezing?

Yes, you actually do—and it could save you trouble in the long run.

As the winter season continues to sweep through the South, your main concern right now might be avoiding the typical beauty mistakes that could be ruining your skin. Though exfoliating weekly is definitely an important tip to keep in mind when temperatures drop below what we're used to, one of the main things you may struggle with during those extremely cold times is whether or not you should be dripping your faucets when the temperature dips below freezing. Of course, it's recommended that we drip our faucets as temperatures drop, but the real question is do we actually have to?

faucet drip
Getty Images

Yes, You Should Drip Your Faucet in Cold Weather

According to the Red Cross, the short answer to that question is yes, you do. It's constantly recommended that we drip our faucets in cold weather for one important reason: to prevent our pipes from freezing. "When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing." And while that may cause concern for those of you who like to keep your water bills low each month, letting your faucet drip may save you a bigger bill for repairing your pipes.

At What Temperature Do Pipes Freeze and Burst?

So what do "below temperature" numbers look like? Farm Bureau Insurance noted that pipes have a temperature alert threshold of 20°F—which means pipes will begin to freeze at this temperature and in some cases, even burst. That doesn't mean, however, that pipes will only freeze if the temperature is at 20°F and below. If your pipes happen to be exposed to cold air or are not insulated, the freezing—even if you are dripping your faucets—can still occur at temperatures above the noted threshold.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If by chance you forget to drip your faucet (or just haven't gotten to the point where you're sold on doing so) and your pipes freeze over, know that not all is lost immediately. If your pipes are still in good standing and haven't burst after freezing, State Farm revealed that you may be able to unfreeze them with an appliance that you use daily: your hair dryer. Before heating the pipe closest to the faucet to try your hand and thawing it out, however, you'll want to make sure you're not standing in any water as to avoid any harm to yourself and others.

Overall, it's best that you take heed and drip your faucets when temperatures dip below freezing. A simple trickle of hot and/or cold water—both from faucets inside and outside the home—can prevent you from having to deal with a much larger issue (and bill!) in the long run.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles