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Do All Pipes Freeze?

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  • Do All Pipes Freeze?

    Given my online name, you can see my experience level with regard to plumbing matters. We are contemplating building a home in a few years high in the mountains in CO and as I am designing a potential floor plan, my husband tells me no bathrooms should be along exterior walls (we would have well water, but plan to live there year round,) to prevent the risk of pipes freezing.

    Call me naive, but people have been living in the arctic (not to mention Russia, Greenland, etc.) for how many years, and we've sent how many people into space, is he really correct that in the continental US there is no pipe material you can buy which will prevent your pipes from freezing?

    Thanks,
    Laura

  • #2
    Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

    as far as I know all pipes will freeze. not all will break when frozen.
    Brent

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

      laura, it's not the material that freezes, it's the water in the pipe that freezes. either you need to keep the house warm all winter, install heat tape to the pipe and insulation or install the piping on an interior wall to prevent freezing.

      but let a cold weather plumber tell you for sure. as i'm in southern calif. and was working in a t-shirt today

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

        Rick and Brent,
        Thank you both for the fast replies, I really appreciate it.
        Regards,
        Laura

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

          YEAH Thanks T-shirt man. It's a balmy 16 here today but some snow is on it's way so it should warm up a bit.

          Laura,
          I'm not a plumber but as you can tell I do live in a COLD area and we thaw many a frozen pipes in the winter.

          1. when installing well line (from house to well) bigger is better. don't use anything less then 1 1/2". Avoid using any fittings underground.
          You could install a product called in line heat tape(it goes in the pipe) But it is VERY expensive.

          2. Do keep all piping in interior walls if you can.

          3. Make sure sewer line is covered with Styrofoam if it's not deep and I assume you will be on a septic tank so it won't be very deep. If sewer line is installed properly it should not freeze but over time if it starts to sag (belly) it will hold water and freeze. 2" of Styrofoam = two feet of cover.

          4. a bit overboard but cheap and easy: Just to be on the safe side, cover septic tank with Styrofoam or a couple bales of spread out hay for the first winter. If/when the biological action has started in the tank that will produce enough heat to prevent freezing but sometimes that takes a while.
          INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
          Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

            [quote=Gene Bickford;117421]YEAH Thanks T-shirt man. It's a balmy 16 here today but some snow is on it's way so it should warm up a bit.

            sorry gene, but if it's any consolation, i will be wearing a raincoat over my t-shirt today

            offer still goes on the l.a. move

            rick.

            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

              Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
              3. Make sure sewer line is covered with Styrofoam if it's not deep and I assume you will be on a septic tank so it won't be very deep. If sewer line is installed properly it should not freeze but over time if it starts to sag (belly) it will hold water and freeze. 2" of Styrofoam = two feet of cover.
              How much styrofoam coverage over the pipe do you need? Is it just placed on the top?
              Buy cheap, buy twice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                WELCOME

                you can put bathrooms on outside walls, "BUT"
                you put the plumbing fixtures on the inside wall's
                that way you lessen the posability of freezing the pipes,
                remember the higher you go into the mountains the colder the weather,
                i would google the area where you are building and
                check with the local building dept. there is a lot of
                ???? to ask how to build your dream house besides just the plumbing

                JERRYMAC MASTERPLUMBER & GEN. BUILDER
                JERRYMAC
                E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                SINCE JAN. 1989

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                  heat tape helps alot and keeping the wind off the pipe helps alot., asumeing that the home will have a basement, have the pipe enter though the home below the frost line if code will permit that, since it will be well water instead of city water you might be ok with that. but i am not a plumber so do not quote me on that but a friend of mine lives in mass, i know he has his well pump and every thing else coming up from the floor in his basement.
                  9/11/01, never forget.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                    And if you do not keep the cabin heated enough the pipes will freeze no matter where they are in the house or if there is a draft in a crawl space. It was -11° when we retired last night with a high of -4° yesterday- it is suppose to be up to 10° today but a wind chill of -20° here in NW Nebraska.

                    quickshot

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                      PI, I live in Northern Minnesota--the coldest it has gotten in the 15 years I have lived here is 50 degrees BELOW zero. I have 4 bathrooms. All are on an outside wall. Three have plumbing fixtures on the outside wall. Nothing has ever frozen. Proper construction, placement of piping and proper insulating and heating can resolve any problem. You stated you are going to live there year around, so I assume you will keep the heat on. I also am on well water and a septic system. I am sure your local builders will know the requirements for those installations to give you trouble free use.
                      Jim

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                        Here is My 2 cents. In a climate prone to freezing temps there is NOOOO reason to put potable water pipes in outside walls. I refuse to do it, bath tubs or showers will get changed on my jobs or they don't go in. Nobody argues when I tell them why. Good construction may prevent drafts from getting to pipes but why rely on that.

                        To me water pipes in outside walls is nothing short of shoddy construction.

                        I spent all week end unfreezing pipes, not a single one was on an inside wall.

                        I've had to work in a few cabins that the owners had all the water pipes sloped to valves so the water would drain out when they left for the winter. that was some nice work. and smart if it's not your permanent home.

                        Bathrooms over garages and cantilevers are a big problem also.

                        Take my advise for what its worth and if a bunch of guys argue with me so be it. They are wrong.

                        Good luck with the house

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                          Originally posted by Plumbing Ignoramus View Post
                          Given my online name, you can see my experience level with regard to plumbing matters. We are contemplating building a home in a few years high in the mountains in CO and as I am designing a potential floor plan, my husband tells me no bathrooms should be along exterior walls (we would have well water, but plan to live there year round,) to prevent the risk of pipes freezing.

                          Call me naive, but people have been living in the arctic (not to mention Russia, Greenland, etc.) for how many years, and we've sent how many people into space, is he really correct that in the continental US there is no pipe material you can buy which will prevent your pipes from freezing?

                          Thanks,
                          Laura
                          I'm sorry for my previous rant Laura, But the answer to your Question is no.

                          Like Rick said its the water that freezes. The pipes can't stop that.

                          I don't think heat tape is allowed inside homes. You don't want to rely on that anyway.

                          If you do put a bathroom over a garage or cantilever

                          Make sure the water pipes are installed as high as possible or as close to the bottom of the floor as you can. I hope that makes sense

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                            Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                            How much Styrofoam coverage over the pipe do you need? Is it just placed on the top?
                            It depends on how deep the frost runs in your area. Around here you should have at least 5' of cover. I've thawed lines that I was told were 7' deep but that was an exceptionally cold winter.
                            Also depends on your lands situation. My well line is only 1' deep with no Styrofoam and has never froze and if you move the grass just right you can see my septic line but the ledge on my land puts off sooo much heat it keeps everything from freezing.
                            INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                            Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Do All Pipes Freeze?

                              "is it just placed on top?'
                              No, most specs around here call for 6" of sand for bedding and another 6" of sand cover. In other words you should have 6" of sand all around the pipe. After compacting and fine grading the top layer nice and smooth you then place your (usually 2' X 8' X2") Styrofoam then back fill with a lift of clean fill.
                              The 6" of sand all around is so you don't have rocks pushing on the pipe during ground movement due to freeze/thaw cycles.
                              INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                              Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

                              Comment

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