As frigid temperatures loom over Houston, homeowners face the dilemma of whether to drip their faucets to prevent frozen pipes. The answer, however, is not universal and depends on the water source.
For those receiving water from a pumping station, which applies to the majority of Houston residents, the recommendation is a resounding “no” to dripping faucets. Conversely, if your water comes from a water tower, as is the case in some areas outside of Houston, the answer is a cautious “yes.”
The City of Houston’s water distribution relies on pump stations on the ground rather than water towers. City officials are actively advising Houston residents against dripping faucets, as it could exert pressure on the water system, potentially leading to a shutdown.
Erin Jones, a spokesperson for Houston Public Works, emphasized the negative impact of running faucets on water pressure, stating, “If water pressure gets too low, then you get a burn water notice. And you don’t want that in the middle of a freeze.”
Instead of dripping faucets, the city recommends alternative measures to safeguard against freezing. Residents are urged to open cabinet doors under sinks located next to outside walls to allow heat in, shut off water to washing machines in unheated garages, and monitor pipes that have experienced freezing in the past. Houstonians planning to be away during the anticipated cold freeze are advised to prepare their homes by draining outside faucets or leaving their home heating system on a low temperature.
As the city braces for an impending cold freeze in the coming days, officials are urging residents to proactively prepare for the frigid weather. The Energy Reliability Council of Texas has notified the public about the expected “extreme cold weather across the region” from Monday, Jan. 15, to Wednesday, Jan. 17, reassuring that “grid conditions are expected to be normal.” Houston homeowners are encouraged to take preventive measures promptly to mitigate the potential impact of freezing temperatures on their water systems.