As winter starts to roll in, pipes can get frozen due to a sudden drop in temperature outside, bad insulation, or if the thermostat is a bottom point and any of these reasons can make the pipe break too.
Thereby, wanting to know whether the most prevalently used PVC pipes also do freeze or not must be your common concern. So, go through the finely explained answers ahead to the precise answers to all the related queries of yours regarding this topic.
Can PVC Pipes Freeze?
PVC pipes can freeze as these pipes are under the threat of getting freeze if the surrounding temperature reaches 20° F because at that time ice starts to form and soon it blocks the PVC pipes. Besides, water expands when it freezes, so it may create pressure inside the pipes making them burst too.
There are different types of PVC pipes are available for different use such as PVC underground pipes, PVC drain pipes, and PVC water pipes.
And here, this section has included brief yet exact information regarding the possibility of these 3 types of pipes being frozen for your better understanding of this query.
PVC Pipes Underground:
PVC pipes that are used underground have the potential risk to get frozen.
But as a rule of thumb, PVC pipes for using underground will freeze if the temperature outside falls to below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and this much cold temperature continue to hang around for at least straight 6 hours.
And in this circumstance, pipes may even burst and cause severe damage.
PVC Drain Pipes:
PVC pipes used in drains are not either spared from the risk of getting frozen. So when the temperature will go down as low as 20° Fahrenheit, the ice will begin to build up and gradually will block the PVC drain pipes.
And as usual, the blockage will cause an expansion in the drain water pressure, thereby, the pipes may rupture, and drain water will come out everywhere.
PVC Water Pipes:
PVC water pipes are no exception, so these pipes will freeze as well just like the PVC drain pipes as soon as the temperature in the surroundings will reach 20° Fahrenheit.
And the water pipes can even burst out if the water expands while freezing when the temperature will reach below freezing.
Also, bear in mind that PVC pipes are not less likely to freeze, in fact, it’s totally the vice versa. It’s because these pipes are more at threat of freezing due to being brittle and unable to tolerate freezing well.
Besides, these pipes are rigid too, they can burst if water freezes inside them.
Can A PVC Pipe Withstand Freezing? What Temperature Can A PVC Pipe Withstand?
A PVC pipe cannot withstand freezing so well because they are brittle so can’t bear the expansion of water as it freezes when the temperature declines below the freezing point.
Besides, these pipes are quite rigid so they are highly potential to burst out as well.
And a PVC pipe will be able to withstand a temperature of about 73°F at most.
Will PVC Pipes Freeze In One Night? How Long Does It Take For PVC Pipes To Freeze And Burst?
PVC pipes indeed can freeze in just one night if the temperature outside has fallen below 32°F and the pipes are completely unprotected. Most of the time when the temperature goes below 20°F, the PVC pipes freeze overnight.
Also, it will take about 6 to 8 uninterrupted hours at least for PVC pipes to freeze and burst out.
What Happens When PVC Pipes Freeze?
When PVC pipes freeze, first the ice formed inside the pipe that blocks the pipes. And this blockage will create coercion surged in the system.
And as ice keeps forming further, the force in the residing water will be keeping rising up which eventually will make the PVC pipes rupture totally and spill water everywhere around.
And not to mention, the hamper caused by bursting pipe is quite an expensive damage.
How To Prevent PVC Water Pipes From Freezing?
You can follow these suggested precautions to prevent all these potential troubles caused by frozen PVC water pipes.
Installing insulation around the exposed PVC pipes that are in the basements, attics, or any other crawl places to prevent PVC pipes from freezing. Because adding insulation helps to hold the pipes nearer to the temperature of waters within the pipes.
But insulation doesn’t provide heat to the PVC pipes.
You can wrap these exposed pipes with thermal insulation and there are 4 kinds of thermal insulation available that are appointed with an R-value which denotes the warmth retention of each insulation material.
You are highly recommended to install R-4 foam pipe insulation around the pipes.
Apply Heat Tape:
Heating tape functions on the PVC water pipes by supplying heat straight to the pipes to hold warmth around the pipes.
You will find 2 types of heating tapes. You can either choose to use the first type of heating tape that auto turns off and on upon sensing the need for heat.
Or else, you can choose the other type of electric tape that needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet upon the requirement of heat and unplugged when heat isn’t needed.
Seal Cracks And Holes:
Seal any cracks or holes around the home where the PVC water pipes are running through the grounds or walls to stop cold air to come in.
You can use either foam insulation or caulk, but remember to caulk when the temperature is over 45°F so that caulk can settle down.
There are different formulas for indoor and outdoor caulk, use the right caulk mixture. And it’s better to either caulk or seals the gaps from both inside and outside of the floors, walls, doors, windows.
Let The Faucet To Drip:
You can keep one of the faucets open to a sluggish trickle and let it drip slightly and continuously overnight when the surrounding temperature will reach 20°F.
Keeping the faucet open and letting it drip relieves the internal pressure from the PVC water pipes’ system and constant movement will discourage ice formation. If the faucet has both cold water and hot water pipes, keep both taps slightly open and let water drip.
Keep Cabinet/Interior Door Open:
As most of the PVC water pipes are placed in cabinets, keep the doors of cabinets open when the temperature will drop down so that the water pipes can stay warm by getting heat from the home. And keep the interior entrances open to let the heat flow inside the home.
Keep The Heat On:
When you are away from your home, set the thermostat to 55°F at least before leaving the home for an extended time period. You can install a programmable thermostat to maintain a persistent temperature.
What To Do If PVC Pipes Freeze? Will Draining Your PVC Pipes Keep Them From Freezing?
If your home’s PVC pipes are frozen, you can thaw the frozen pipe just by following 4 simple steps.
- Turn a faucet on, and let the water run.
- Then gradually heat the frozen places by using a hairdryer.
- Continue applying heat until the water pressure is fully restored.
- Lastly, check all the faucets in your home.
Moreover, know that draining your PVC pipes helps to keep the pipes from freezing, as there will not be any water to get frozen and turn into ice to block the pipes.
How To Insulate A PVC Pipe Outdoors?
Insulating PVC pipes outdoors is necessary to avoid pipe freezing or worst pipe bursting situation. The step-by-step process of insulating PVC pipes outdoors with the most recommended self-sealing or conventional foam insulation is included.
Choose The Right-Sized Foam Insulation:
Purchase the accurate-sized self-sealing or conventional foam pipe insulation tubes.
Measure And Cut Through The Tubes:
Then measure the pipes’ length that you want to insulate and cut the conventional or self-healing foam pipe insulation tubes according to that measurement with a utility knife.
Slip The Foam Insulation:
Slide foam insulation on the PVC pipes and make sure that the split edge that you made with a utility knife is on top of the pipes, and seal it using duct tape.
If it’s self-sealing foam insulation, tear the covers off the glued part and attach them to the edges.
And that’s how fully insulate the exposed areas of PVC pipes outdoors that you want to insulate.
If you want to insulate the pipes with spray foam insulation, hire a professional for the best results.
PVC pipe surely will freeze if the temperature outside falls down to 20° F because water will start forming into ice and ice eventually will block the pipes. And if the temperature lowers down below 20° F and this temperature persists for 6-8 hours, PVC pipes may burst too.