NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the mercury drops, bursting pipes become more common.

University of Illinois senior research architect William Rose said a pipe connected to tightly closed faucets bursts not due to the width of the ice but due to the expanding length of the ice inside the pipe.

“That growing ice front acts like a piston compressing the water that basically has nowhere to go,” Rose told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

Rose said leaving the hot and cold faucets dripping slightly will prevent the pressure from building and keep the pipe from bursting.

“It doesn’t matter what the volume of the water is but any drip, no matter how small it is, will provide the same level of pressure relief,” he told Lamb.

Rose added the drip may cost a little more on your water bill but it’ll still be a lot less than the cost to fix a burst pipe.

He said generally speaking, only pipes on the exterior walls are in danger of freezing.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

Watch & Listen LIVE