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WEATHER Plumbing/Pipe warning
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  1. #1

    Plumbing/Pipe warning

    Well, guess where Doc1 spent his afternoon? In wet mud underneath our house fixing broken plumbing! It was down to 19 degrees this morning and - like the rest of this week - has been and will be for the next several days, barely gets above freezing during the day.

    DW went out to feed our chickens and came back in to tell me that water was pouring from under the house. Oh, joy! Just what I wanted to hear on a cold afternoon...

    It turned out that a length of 3/4" PVC was badly cracked and leaking. This is an easy fix, but the hard part is avoiding the water and mud resulting from the leak (which one never does with 100% success).

    I'm posting this to warn people to let more water drip from their pipes than they might ordinarily do in freezing conditions. Yes, we had every outdoor spigot and indoor faucet set to steadily drip; still, it apparently wasn't enough. The slow water flow still froze in a joint of PVC pipe and burst it.

    Considering the extreme and unusual cold many of us are experiencing, you might consider allowing your plumbing to drip at a faster rate than you ordinarily would.

    Best regards
    Doc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    On top of the Mountain
    Posts
    22,500
    Thanks for the warning Doc 1. Sorry for your trouble.
    "Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we will all face the choice between what is right, and what is easy."
    Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire.

    Luke 21:36

    A people who no longer recognize sin and evil, are not a people who will recognize tyranny and despotism either. Invar


    ďDuring the course of your life you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted. But you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. Never, ever, ever give up!Ē

    - President Donald J. Trump

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    14,264
    Wouldn't this solve a lot of your plumbing problems when it gets really cold?? We use this and it works just fine in -30C.


    https://www.amazon.ca/WRAP-Pipe-Heat...ds=heated+tape
    True North Strong and Free

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    63,317
    Be sure your crawl spaces are adequately enclosed and heated.

    On exterior walls with sinks etc, leave cabinet doors open to allow more heat to get inside.

    Be sure your drains don't freeze when you leave water dripping

    19 degrees was 21 degrees warmer than it was here this AM...
    The wonder of our time isnít how angry we are at politics and politicians; itís how little weíve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Sioux City, Iowa
    Posts
    3,420
    Heat tape is a great investment.

  6. #6
    Doc1 you must be mistaken. Al Gore has personally guaranteed that global warming is a fact. And to think we almost elected that con man president.
    In Honor of T/S R.L. Hare (Chief Sly)and the members of 322 BS

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    35,958
    Quote Originally Posted by David Nettleton View Post
    Heat tape is a great investment.

    This ^^ and I seen my share of frozen 3" sewage pipe and got paid to thaw it out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    tn
    Posts
    1,883
    East tn does not really build for the cold we are getting this week. I just rent, but know the landlord and we have worked on stuff at this house here and there.

    Incoming city water line sprung a tiny leak. I figured I would let it leak and not let pipes drip.

    Well, pipes froze anyway but atleast it is pipes under house. Sucks to wonder how you thaw pipes that are in the ground and froze up somewhere in the yard.

    I have running water again, we plan to work on things in spring to make it better and this time instead of just fixing junk we will redo to what should work just fine all year long.
    working on unplugging.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Williamsburg County,S.C.
    Posts
    8,668
    one of my spigots i dripped, formed a reverse icecicle and backed up into the spigot. I caught it in time this morning and got it goinv before it busted.
    "America is at that awkward stage, to late to work within the system, but to early to shoot the bastards"-- Claire Wolfe

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    W. Georgia
    Posts
    6,387
    Letting water drip is the best shot especially if the power goes out. Thankfully no real storms with this unseasonable cold wave here. I think it was year before last that drought was killing my perennials now it's cold clipping them but good. So far the pipes are holding on.

  11. #11
    I don't like heat tape. Love pex pipe, pipe insulation and those plug ins that switch the power on when temps drop to freezing, and the old fashion incondesent 75 +- watt bulbs in clamp on shielded aluminum shades. That are placed in the out side dog house, under the house and directed to shine on the majority of plumbing there. Plus one in the pump house. Good for sub zero temps and for us at our homestead. Would use heat tape if that didn't do the job. Do like it because I can also see to inspect and repair plumbing if needed as well.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,711
    Where I live, the village pipes freeze under the streets. My water has been running for a month already because it's cheaper to do that than fix what gets frozen. Septics are starting to freeze up and pipes are bursting and houses are burning down......it is really depressing!

  13. #13
    We let the water drip when it has been as cold as it has been. -18 degrees last night. I have the water line wrapped in heat tapes but only turn them on when the lines freeze. I don't follow the instructions. I wrap the tapes in 1 inch spirals. When you plug them in they will heat the pipes up pretty quickly. They get too hot to leave them on all the time. So far this year I have only plugged them in once and within 15 minutes the water was running again.
    There are only two types of warriors in this world. Those that serve tyrants and those that serve free men. I have chosen to serve free men, and if we as warriors serve free men, we must love freedom more than we love our own lives. -- Sergeant First Class Stefan Mazak, 5th Special Forces Group

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc1 View Post
    Well, guess where Doc1 spent his afternoon? In wet mud underneath our house fixing broken plumbing! It was down to 19 degrees this morning and - like the rest of this week - has been and will be for the next several days, barely gets above freezing during the day.

    DW went out to feed our chickens and came back in to tell me that water was pouring from under the house. Oh, joy! Just what I wanted to hear on a cold afternoon...

    It turned out that a length of 3/4" PVC was badly cracked and leaking. This is an easy fix, but the hard part is avoiding the water and mud resulting from the leak (which one never does with 100% success).

    I'm posting this to warn people to let more water drip from their pipes than they might ordinarily do in freezing conditions. Yes, we had every outdoor spigot and indoor faucet set to steadily drip; still, it apparently wasn't enough. The slow water flow still froze in a joint of PVC pipe and burst it.

    Considering the extreme and unusual cold many of us are experiencing, you might consider allowing your plumbing to drip at a faster rate than you ordinarily would.

    Best regards
    Doc
    Last time i had to do that the high for the day was 15.Put on a full rain suit,it did pretty good going in,got a little wet coming out.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Green County, Kentucky
    Posts
    9,858
    If I need to leave water running to prevent the pipes from freezing, I leave it RUNNING. Not full stream, but a good solid trickle, not just a drip. A drip is simply not enough motion in the water to prevent it from freezing.

    That said, I hope nobody else has issues! And glad Doc1 got his fixed today!

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Dozdoats View Post
    Be sure your crawl spaces are adequately enclosed and heated.

    On exterior walls with sinks etc, leave cabinet doors open to allow more heat to get inside.

    Be sure your drains don't freeze when you leave water dripping

    19 degrees was 21 degrees warmer than it was here this AM...

    Dozdoats,

    Thanks for the input, but your post illustrates how every area has its own little idiosyncrasies. We do everything you've suggested, except for enclosing and heating crawl spaces. Why? Termites. This area is loaded with termites and they are interesting (and destructive) insects. Termites live in the ground and are sensitive to visible light. As a result, when they climb up a structure to eat the cellulose (wood), they build light-tight tunnels on their above ground route. Our house sits on concrete pads with cinder block piers. Each set of piers has a galvanized steel termite barrier at the top, upon which the structural wood sits. In spite of this protection, one still has to inspect the piers semi-regularly for new termite tunnels.

    Virtually any crawl space enclosure (that I'm aware of) provides termites with a super highway to gain access to the house structure. As a result, in much of the Deep South you see very few enclosed crawl spaces. I have seen houses on eight to ten foot-high piers with termite damage, as the insects actually climbed - and built their tunnels - that high. This is most common with vacation homes which are unoccupied for most of the year. When we bought this place (for cash) all of the exterior plumbing was copper. Even in '82 when the house was built, all copper plumbing was comparatively rare: PVC had mostly come to dominate residential construction. Our house was a bank foreclosure and had supposedly been winterized by the bank. They wasted their money. Virtually every run of pipe had been frozen and split at some point. This and other mostly cosmetic flaws resulted in us getting the house for peanuts. Cash talks and banks don't like to deal with repairs. Fortunately, I had the skills necessary to repair everything.

    I sawed out all of the copper pipe, then cleaned and tested it. I was able to re-sweat and re-plumb half the house with the original, salvaged copper pipe and ran PVC for the rest. Because of its much greater thermal conductivity, I insulated all of the copper with polyurethane insulation, but left the PVC bare. Insulation will help PVC too, but it also makes leaks harder to find. We almost never have pipes split from the cold, but what can I say? Split happens (groan)!

    Thanks to you and everyone else for your interest and suggestions.

    Best regards
    Doc

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    63,317
    I've only done one house from scratch, and it was small. I'm not claustrophobic but I hate working in a space where I can't move, so the piers got an extra 8" cinderblock (3 high instead of 2), my excuse was the nearby Cape Fear River and potential floods, even though the water had never reached my property in living memory.

    When we wired it, we put light fixtures and base plugs in the crawl space too. That gave light to get around, and there were no cordless power tools at the time, so ... .

    Since the piers were regularly spaced and the openings pretty much the same size, I could build covers for the openings. They were framed in light lumber (1X3"s) and filled with sheet insulating blackboard, cut to fit. To ease installation/removal I hinged them at the top, and swung them up and latched them under the house in the summer. They were framed in place with 1X stock as well, to reinforce them further when closed and to give attachment points to screw them down in the closed position.

    Helped hold heat in the winter (a friend in Fayetteville said this AM it was 16 degrees there) and could be opened in the summer to allow airflow. Later I fitted wooden lattice on the outside of the openings to keep bigger critters out.
    The wonder of our time isnít how angry we are at politics and politicians; itís how little weíve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Green County, Kentucky
    Posts
    9,858
    Granddaughter is talking to a friend in Ohio and he says it's supposed to be twenty below there tonight. Y'all should be in bed by now (yes, I can fake a Texas accent, LOL!) but I hope none of you wake up to more frozen pipes!

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    988
    Please make sure your vent pipes aren't frozen too.

  20. #20
    There is nothing less able to withstand freezing than PVC water pipe. Copper would probably be next worse.

    Pex plastic pipe however may be the most durable to freezing(But not the connecting fittings).

    So if I had to worry about it then I think I would use pex and try to keep any fittings where they won't freeze.

    My first choice though is to use the Easyheat heat tape that you buy by the foot(Cut off a roll). It only heats where it needs to.
    But not likely to die free

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    W. Georgia
    Posts
    6,387
    Quote Originally Posted by magnetic1 View Post
    Where I live, the village pipes freeze under the streets. My water has been running for a month already because it's cheaper to do that than fix what gets frozen. Septics are starting to freeze up and pipes are bursting and houses are burning down......it is really depressing!
    Wow, I'm glad I live in the South. I will remind myself of your post around August so I can still be glad.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    5,936
    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbit View Post
    Wow, I'm glad I live in the South. I will remind myself of your post around August so I can still be glad.
    That's the rub, isn't it? In August many of us will be glad to live up north.
    The word RACIST, and the ability to debate race-related issues rationally, are the kryptonite of white common sense.

    After the first one, the rest are free.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    S.E. Texas U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,418
    A friend of mine, lived in a rent house on a slab, with the water lines in the attic. At Christmas time they had left town for several days. A big freeze came in while they were gone, and they had left the heat off, as it was warm at the time. Well, when they got home water was running down the drive way, and everything inside was wet. So, it could be worse.

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