Winter-proof Your Bathroom: When to Drip Your Faucet

With colder-than-average temperatures expected this winter, it’s important to know how to protect your home from the costly damage of frozen, burst pipes. Between cleaning up water damage and pipe repair, a burst pipe can cost thousands of dollars. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to ensure both your home and your pipes make it through winter unscathed.

How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing

The pipes of your home are at risk of freezing any time the temperature drops to 32 degrees F and below. However, for most insulated and indoor pipes, the temperature has to get much lower to really cause trouble, especially if your home has sufficient heating. As you might expect, uninsulated pipes or pipes in basements, attics and garages are at the biggest risk.

Yet, when temperatures drop to the teens and single-digits, every sink in your home could be at risk. According to the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois, the “temperature alert threshold” is 20 degrees F and below. When overnight temperatures drop that low, here are a few steps you should take to winter-proof your bathroom:

  • Open cabinet doors. Exposing the pipes of your bathroom sink to warmer indoor air can help prevent freezing.
  • Drip your faucet. Having cold water running through your pipes helps prevent freezing. You only need a slow drip to make a difference. To avoid wasting water, place an empty jug or bowl under the faucet each night for reuse.
  • Keep your home at a consistent temperature. As tempting as it can be to save on your heating bill in the winter, don’t cut the thermostat too low. In fact, even when you’re out of town, make sure your home stays at least above 55 degrees F.
  • Add pipe insulation. If you have particularly vulnerable pipes, consider adding pipe insulation, which can be an inexpensive solution to a potentially costly problem.

Dealing with frozen pipes is inconvenient — dealing with a burst pipe can be downright disastrous. Avoid the disaster this winter by taking the proper precautions.

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