Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 4/Water-pipes and frost

A postscript to the article "Pipes of paper." See also the author's further article on the topic, "The water stoppage."


At Buxton there is much water, and a gentleman residing there, desirous of knowing how to prevent that water from bursting supply-pipes by the action of frost, has written for a specification of the plan indicated by me in a former paper.[1] Possibly, apropos of Christmas weather, a recipe after the manner of Mrs. Glasse may serve for others as well as my correspondent.

We all know that water in motion does not freeze unless under a degree of frost rarely experienced in England. Even in New York the proprietors of the Croton aqueduct enjoin the housekeepers whom they supply to suffer the water to run off as fast as it can during frost, in order to save the pipes from casualties. Now it is possible to attain sufficient motion without wasting the water, by simply inducing circulation by heat. When the ball-cock in the cistern is closed, the water in the pipe above it is motionless. At that point should be attached a small cistern of thin copper, containing, say, a quart or half a gallon of water, which may be a sphere like a ball-cock, or of any convenient form to apply beneath it a gas jet of sufficient power to heat the water and keep up a circulation. If this gas jet be kept constantly burning in frosty weather, the water cannot freeze, and the pipes will not burst. The small heating-cistern must, of course, be placed at the lowest point of the pipe.

W. Bridges Adams.

  1. See Vol. iii., p. 216.