As we greet 2014, we are faced with some of the coldest temperatures on record. A consequence of this is lots of frozen and busted water pipes. So how do we prevent that? By leaving some water running? NO. Not theoretically. Water freezes at 32 deg F, whether it’s moving or not. So moving water freezes just as stagnant water freezes. However, keeping it running will allow warmer water, from the building or city water main, to displace the colder water in the piping.
So, for example, if you have a water line running outside your building, it will be subject to freezing when the ambient temperature drops below freezing (32 deg F for water). If, however, the ambient temperature in the building is above freezing, the pipes in the building will be safe from freezing. So, you may leave the water running from the pipe outside and allow the warmer water from within to displace the freezing water in the pipe and prevent freezing.
This will work, but it can be problematic. For one thing, you will have a substantial increase in water flow and increase in your water bill. Additionally, once the water leaves the pipe it is again subject to freezing, which could mean a substantial ice sheet outside your building, which could be a safety hazard. Perhaps a better way would be to control the water flow as needed.
RJ Owen Associates can offer a simple inexpensive way to do just that: control the temperature in exposed piping without running water consistently and without complicated controls systems. The Therm-Omega-Tech HAT/FP Valve is the prime choice for this job. It is a mechanical valve with an open setpoint of 35 deg F and a closed setpoint of 40 deg F. This valve will open to drain any water from a line that is below 40 degrees. When water in the line reaches 35 degrees, the valve opens to drain. Once warmer water enters the pipe, the valve will modulate to close off at 40 degrees. Valves are available in 1/2″ and 3/4″ female pipe thread with either brass or stainless steel internals. Feel free to contact us for sizing and selection assistance, or visit our online store: http://mechroom.com/