FAQs: Bleeders

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What kind of frost protection systems are in place in the Hillcrest LI Project area?  

The majority of properties in the Hillcrest LI Project area rely on thermostatically controlled bleeders (TCBs) for the frost protection of water services. TCBs have a sensor that measures water temperature and periodically releases water to prevent freezing. A smaller number of properties have free flow bleeders (FFBs), which are less efficient than TCBs by continuously bleeding water during winter months, regardless of temperature. The area’s most recent developments have recirculating services that function using an electric pump and do not bleed any water. Other systems in place include heat traces, which are wrapped around water services and consume a steady flow of electricity to keep lines warm. Some properties may have thaw wires, which are charged only after services have frozen to thaw them out.  

Why does the City want to replace bleeders? 

Bleeders are water intensive systems and are costly to the City, taxpayers, and the environment. Bleed water must be chlorinated, heated, and pumped to buildings. The water is used for no other purpose before it empties into the sewer system. The water must then be pumped to the City’s sewage lagoon for treatment and eventual discharge.

The City stopped allowing for bleeders to be installed in new developments in the early 1960s. In the late 1990s, the City installed thermostatic controls in many FFBs (turning them into TCBs) to reduce the water consumption of these systems by approximately 2/3rds. This was intended as a stopgap measure that would ultimately be eliminated, since TCBs are also water intensive. 

How can I tell if my home has a bleeder? 

Click here to view an example of a TCB. Notice the clear tube which feeds into the sewer pipe and the thermostatic control box. FFBs look similar, but do not have the thermostatic control.

Who should I contact if my TCB needs servicing? 

Until the LI upgrades can be achieved, bleeders will continue to require maintenance to ensure they operate in the most efficient way possible. If you experience problems with your bleeder, such as a failing thermostatic control, call 668-8350 to schedule a servicing appointment.