The cold blast that has dropped low temperatures to the single digits, breaking water mains in Rock Hill this week, is expected to last a few more nights. That cold air brings a potential problem: frozen water pipes.
Or even worse, burst pipes that cost a bundle to fix.
A solution, says Rock Hill Utilities and one local plumber, is to let a faucet drip.
Even if the drip, drip, drip sound is annoying.
E & E Plumbing in Clover has dealt with 26 calls for service since Tuesday, for pipes that were frozen or burst, said Derek Jackson, owner of E & E Plumbing. Jackson said he has advised all customers, and told people on social media, to let a faucet drip.
“It doesn’t have to run like somebody’s in the bathroom washing their hands, it just needs a steady drip,” Jackson said. “Right before it gets to a steady stream, is what we tell people.”
If there are separate hot and cold water taps, drip both, Jackson said. If a faucet or shower has just one tap, then drip that.
About half of the calls that Jackson has covered in the cold stretch were frozen hot water pipes, he said.
“Water freezes faster if it is standing still,” Jackson said. “If water is moving, it won’t freeze as fast. It is physics and common sense.”
York County utilities also are advising customers to let the water drip.
City of Rock Hill spokesperson Katie Quinn said that while city crews are responsible for broken water mains, many residential and business customers called the city to report frozen pipes.
The city offers a link on its Web site, telling people to let water drip, to wrap exposed pipes and other helpful hints.
Jackson said some calls for frozen pipes have come from new homes that cost more than a million dollars. The culprit, he said, is several nights of cold, a longer stretch of frigid weather than has been seen here in more than 50 years.
“It’s not the pipe, it’s the cold,” Jackson said. “Let the water drip.”