Best pipes to survive freezing?

Discussion in 'Home Repair' started by ITMFA, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. ITMFA

    ITMFA Guest

    which pipe can best survive a freeze.
    plastic, copper or steel?
    ITMFA, Jan 14, 2007
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  2. ITMFA

    RBM Guest

    RBM, Jan 14, 2007
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  3. ITMFA

    Eigenvector Guest

    Yes indeedy - EXCEPT for the joints
    Eigenvector, Jan 14, 2007
  4. ITMFA

    Red Guest

    The worst is pvc. It doesn't just split, it shatters for 6-8 ft.
    Red, Jan 14, 2007
  5. ITMFA


    I live in SoCal, so I'm not speaking from experience, but copper will
    stretch much more than the different plastics and iron (almost all
    "steel" plumbing pipe is really iron, not steel). When it does rupture,
    it will be less catastrophic and a less drastic leak than plastic or
    iron. Help yourself by insulating it well.-Jitney
    , Jan 14, 2007
  6. Except for PEX. It will take much more than copper.
    Edwin Pawlowski, Jan 14, 2007
  7. ITMFA

    dpb Guest

    Besides the other points made, also depends heavily on wall thickness
    -- all are made in varying "schedules" -- copper "L" and/or "M", for
    example, Sch 30/40 as examples for pvc and/or galvanized/black iron...

    What's the application and/or reason for the question?
    dpb, Jan 14, 2007
  8. Agree, who better to answer than an Alaskan.
    But yes copper does stretch, right apart, just
    like iron pipe.
    George E. Cawthon, Jan 14, 2007
  9. ITMFA

    Dan_Musicant Guest

    :ITMFA wrote:
    :> which pipe can best survive a freeze.
    :> plastic, copper or steel?
    :Besides the other points made, also depends heavily on wall thickness
    :-- all are made in varying "schedules" -- copper "L" and/or "M", for
    :example, Sch 30/40 as examples for pvc and/or galvanized/black iron...
    :What's the application and/or reason for the question?
    So, what will withstand freezing better? L copper or M copper?
    Dan_Musicant, Jan 15, 2007
  10. ITMFA

    dpb Guest

    In order of _decreasing_ wall thickness, copper is K, L, M M (of
    a given diameter) is most likely to burst first, K withstand the most
    dpb, Jan 15, 2007
  11. That is what one would expect based on the
    strength of the pipe. However, I suggest a test
    by filling 12" lengths with water capping both
    ends (no airspace) and then setting them outside
    at night for 8 hours in 15 degree weather. If
    that is too cold for you then set them outside
    when the temperature is 25 degrees. I would
    expect that if one pipe breaks then all pipes will
    break. You could throw in an iron pipe and see
    how that fares.

    OTOH, there are lots of variable that could be
    expected, so one has to be very precise about the
    freezing temperature and length of period to
    predict anything meaningful.
    George E. Cawthon, Jan 15, 2007
  12. ITMFA

    dpb Guest

    If you'll read the post, all that was compared was the expected
    _relative_ likelihood which is the question asked and there's no doubt
    at all that thicker-walled tubing/pipe of any type will be more
    resistant than thinner walled which, again, was the only point being
    dpb, Jan 15, 2007
  13. ITMFA

    cavedweller Guest

    Well, no, actually. So-called iron pipe is really steel. Steel is
    simply iron with a little bit of carbon, after all.
    "Cast iron" piping comes in larger sizes and is used for DWV.
    cavedweller, Jan 15, 2007
  14. ITMFA

    dpb Guest

    The volume expansion owing to the phase change to ice from water occurs
    at the freezing point so the atmospheric temperature doesn't make any
    difference on that score. Once solid ice is formed, the thermal
    coefficient of expansion is positive so as it is cooled further it
    actually would contract slightly. (In fact, it's about three times
    that of copper ~51E-6 vs 17E-6 in/in/C) so would actually reduce the
    pressure on the pipe wall as the temperature were lowered as it would
    contract more rapidly than the copper pipe itself).
    dpb, Jan 15, 2007
  15. Unfortunately "survive a freeze" is rather
    ambiguous. Does the OP mean air temp drop below
    32 or does he mean that the all of water in the
    pipes actually freezes. If the latter, then one
    would expect little difference relative to wall
    thickness. In the real world where pipe
    temperatures are such that all of the water
    doesn't freeze, the shape of the pipe, the
    orientation, joints, the wall thickness, etc. make
    a difference. Possibly number of joints, types of
    joints, and smoothness of the joints is more
    important than the wall thickness.
    George E. Cawthon, Jan 15, 2007
  16. You seem to just want to argue. No one cares
    about this stuff. We are talking about the real
    world experience where the weather gets colder
    (atmospheric temperature drops), and I would
    assume the pipes are in a house.

    The point of specifying a time and a temperature
    was to make sure that the water actually freezes.
    So if you like, just put the pipes in a freezer
    and you won't have to worry about the effect of
    the atmosphere.
    George E. Cawthon, Jan 15, 2007
  17. ITMFA

    dpb Guest

    "In the real world" it's highly unlikely the OP would be asking about
    other than a condition where sufficient water freezes that a portion of
    the pipe is solid so that, for all practical purposes, the entire pipe
    may as well frozen.

    Again, whether it actually causes a pipe burst in a real plumbing
    orientation in a house, for example, has a tremendous amount to do with
    length between joints, hot or cold supply line, etc., etc., etc.,
    granted. That's why I asked OP quite some time earlier for the
    motivation behind the question in the first place.

    Again, all I pointed out was that for comparative purposes, a K or M
    copper pipe is much more robust to freezing than an L pipe of the same
    diameter, length, orientation and so on. That is still true and is
    also just as true for Sch 40 vis a vis Sch 30 pvc or galvanized. No
    more has been claimed, but no less, either...

    As a practical "real world" thing, I don't recall ever having had a
    break of an "M" piece of piping, but several in "L". That's not to say
    "M" won't burst when frozen and I have never said such a thing and I'm
    sure there are many instances where it has. But, I can certainly state
    that one disadvantage in using "L" for the initial cost savings is that
    it will certainly be far more susceptible to a break from freezing than
    will "M" -- again, in the same configuration/environment. That it
    would be guaranteed to hold, no; I'm not nor have I claimed that--only
    that odds are are significantly improved.
    dpb, Jan 15, 2007
  18. ITMFA

    dpb Guest

    No, you are the one that seems to want to argue -- all I said was that
    thicker walled pipe is more substantial than thinner and you started
    the argument of trying (it seemed to me) of reading far more into that
    than what I said -- If not, fine, let's let it drop. I do have a
    penchant for not wanting what I post distorted nor taken from context,

    But, as I noted elsewhere, we can assume all we want about OP's actual
    purpose in asking the question but we don't know -- I asked earlier and
    didn't get it answered so still don't know.
    dpb, Jan 15, 2007
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