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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.
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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, drain pipes, or heating 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 these high risk freeze spots for water supply piping, water drain piping, and in some circumstances even the hot water heating piping, baseboards, or radiators in a building:
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
Water pipes (both supply & drain) & hot water heating pipes or steam heat condensate pipes or building drains routed through un-heated areas or passing by areas exposed to cold drafts.
Check piping that runs along or near the building sills or building perimeter in basements, crawl spaces, attics.
Check water supply piping and horizontal drain lines and fixture traps in cold areas where building heat does not easily enter, such as the pipe chase at left.
Often you can simply cut an opening to let warm air enter such spots - a technique that we illustrate later in this article.
Our photo (above left) provides a closeup showing one of several patterns in which a copper water pipe will swell and burst due to freezing. Details about the different patterns in which pipes freeze and burst are at PIPE FREEZE-BURST PATTERNS.
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
Plumbing faucets outdoors: traditional simple hose bibs or outdoor faucets can easily freeze where they pass through the building wall if the faucet is not shut off and drained; longer-stem frost-proof outdoor faucets are available and are used in new construction in most jurisdictions. Sketch at left showing the two types of outdoor water faucets is provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.
These newer faucets make sure that the actual valve that turns off water flow is well inside the (supposedly heated) space.
Our photo (left) shows what we found on arriving at an unoccupied New York home shortly after freezing conditions had abated. Water was spewing out of the building wall just above the foundation. The owner/occupant had forgotten to turn off water to the outside hose hook-up, leaving that line full of water. The water line just inside the foundation froze and burst.
See details about outdoor faucets, hose bibbs, sillcocks at FAUCETS, OUTDOOR HOSE BIBBS.
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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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Technical Reviewers & References
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