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PLUMBING SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
ANTIFREEZE for BOILERS
BACKUP PREVENTION, SEWER LINE
BLOCKED DRAIN REPAIR METHODS
CLEANOUTS, PLUMBING DRAIN
CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
HEAT TAPE USAGE GUIDE
HOT WATER HEATERS
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
NO HEAT - BOILER
NO HEAT - FURNACE
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
OIL FIRED WATER HEATERS
PIPING IN buildings, Clogs Leaks Types
PLUMBING FIXTURES, KITCHEN, BATH
PUMPS, PONY PUMPS
RELIEF VALVE LEAKS
SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION, USE
SUMP PUMPS GUIDE
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
WATER HEATER PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS
WATER HEATER PROPERTIES
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WATER SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION, USE
WATER SHUTOFF VALVE, WELL PUMP
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
How to freezeproof a building: where pipes freeze. This article discusses the details of winterizing a building to prevent freezing pipes, focusing on how to find and fix cold spots that lead to frozen pipes in a building. Our page top photo illustrates a common point at which water supply piping is at extra risk of freezing - in a hard-to-access, poorly-insulated corner of a building. The articles at this website will answer most questions about freeze protection for piping and other building plumbing and heating system components: how to winterize a building to avoid frozen pipes, and how to thaw frozen water supply & dr ain piping, wells, & water tanks.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
You can do a lot to correct a freezing pipe problem in a building that is exposed to cold weather. Even in an occupied building pipes can freeze in some conditions. Here are some examples of places to look for freezing trouble and what to do about them:
What are the most common places where water pipes freeze?
Our photo at left, a close-up of the page top photo, shows one way that pipes burst from freezing: ice forming at a specific location in the copper pipe expanded causing a round bulge that ultimately splits.
Common locations where heating tapes are used on plumbing to prevent freezing pipes include:
Some older or less costly models of heating tapes present a fire risk, particularly if the heating tape is crossed over itself. Be sure to read the product specifications, safety warnings, and installation guide before installing a heating tape on building piping of any kind.
Check the routing of both hot and cold water supply pipes to identify spots where freezeproofing is needed
Plumbing fixtures in un-heated areas such as a bathroom or kitchen sink in a room that does not have its own heat source; in kitchens and bathrooms we may leave open vanity cabinet doors to permit warmer building air to reach pipes in those areas.
Freeze-protect outdoor faucets to avoid a building flood
How to Add Heat to Protect Plumbing Components from Freezing
Adding heat to protect plumbing in un-heated areas such as crawl spaces: you may add heat either by installing a short section of heating baseboard, an extra opening cut in a warm air supply duct running through a crawl area, a small thermostatically-controlled electric heater set to operate only at low temperatures, or in small but cold areas, a simple light bulb may provide enough heat to prevent freezing.
Check these auxiliary heaters frequently to assure that the heat source is still working; be sure to respect fire safety when installing any heat source.
Adding small point-sources of extra heat in a building to protect from freezing is likely to be more economical than running the central heating system to a higher temperature just to warm up a cold corner or two. Particularly if the thermostat set-back temperature results in the heating system turning on less often, adding point source heating may be needed.
Our photo (above left) shows how we stopped freezing pipes under the second floor of a home. On the first floor we cut an opening into a pipe chase through which both supply and drain piping rose upwards to the floor above. Just allowing air to enter the pipe chase by natural convection stopped the freeze-up problem we had experienced in the bathroom above this location. The orange arrow indicates the direction of warm air flow by convection.
The red arrow in our photo (above left) shows a cover we constructed to hide hot and cold water supply pipes that we had moved out of the wall cavity and into the building interior stop freezing. Moving those pipes to the inside of the wall and keeping the pipe cover an inch off of the floor permitted enough warm air to enter the covered space that the horizontal pipe run never froze again.
We can add heat to protect plumbing and heating piping using any of the methods listed below and described in detail in this article:
Plastic piping to resist freezing: modern plastic piping is considerably more tolerant of freezing without bursting than copper or steel water pipes. In a home intended for regular winterization some builders use exclusively plastic pipes to resist freeze damage. Be careful: even when freeze-tolerant piping is used, the piping connections, elbows, unions, couplings, and plumbing fixtures are still at risk of frost damage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about building freezeproofing and points where frost or freeze damage occurs
Questions & answers about where water pipes or drains are most likely to freeze-up..
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