Why is Running Water at Night Key to Preventing Frozen Pipes?

Learn why running water at night prevents frozen pipes in freezing temperatures.

Why is Running Water at Night Key to Preventing Frozen Pipes?
Photo by Bernard Hermant / Unsplash

As the cold winter months approach, many homeowners are faced with the concern of frozen pipes.

One common recommendation to prevent this issue is to run a faucet at a slow trickle at night to keep water flowing.

But why is this specific timing emphasized over during the day?

Temperature Differential Matters

The key factor here is the difference in temperature between day and night.

At night, temperatures tend to drop significantly, especially in the early morning hours when it is typically the coldest.

This drop in temperature can increase the risk of pipes freezing.

While it may be below freezing during the day as well, the temperature fluctuation at night is more pronounced, making it a critical time to keep water flowing.

Lower Activity, Higher Risk

Another reason for focusing on running water at night is the decrease in household water usage during those hours.

With most people asleep and minimal water usage, the risk of water sitting stagnant in the pipes and freezing becomes higher.

By running a faucet at night, it helps counteract this lack of activity and reduces the likelihood of freezing.

Preventative Measure

Running water constantly is not necessary; rather, a slow trickle is effective in preventing freezing.

It’s assumed that regular water usage during the day naturally keeps water flowing through the pipes.

Therefore, the emphasis on running water at night is more about supplementing the reduced daylight activity and the greater temperature drop.

Winter Wisdom

Understanding the critical role of temperature differentials and reduced household activity sheds light on the significance of running water at night to prevent frozen pipes.

As you prepare for winter, remember that a simple act like running water at night can save you from the inconvenience and cost of dealing with frozen pipes.