Re: Gator-Bite and Distorted Copper Pipe
- From: JM <jpdm45@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 4 May 2010 23:16:33 -0700 (PDT)
On May 4, 5:13 pm, "EXT" <noem...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Where do you get that idea! I live in the land of the cold, and had a number
of soldered copper pipes freeze when I didn't drain them properly. In my
experiences, if the solder joint is done properly, it will not fail but the
pipe will split.
No "idea" to it, strictly observation. Take what we got in our other
house, a restoration project going on now for the third year--a 1,200
sq. ft. log home with fireplace and wood-stove heating; entirely
plumbed with PVC and CPVC. All that pipe is hung from the floor joists
under the house, not an inch of which is wrapped. For three winters
now (and this has been a cold one for southern Missouri) there has
been no heat in our as yet unrestored central lodge of the house,
under which all that pipe passes from the north to the south wing
which are the currently restored living areas either side the lodge;
each wing having its own stove, and both being entirely closed off
from the main lodge. During our first winter here, we had no electric
heater out in the pump house, just a 100 watt light bulb left on
through the coldest nights. Came a night when it wasn't enough and the
brass shut-off valve going to the outdoor pump-house faucet froze up
That's not all. That valve was a replacement I made, for a length of
copper line that had frozen and split during the winter before we
bought the place. All that PVC and CPVC running underground to the
house and under the floor was intact when we bought the place, and has
so remained ever since. The afore-mentioned copper line to the outside
pump-house valve was split, I replaced it with a new outside valve and
length of STEEL pipe which I joined to an inside brass shut-off valve
to the steel line on the pressure tank. That brass fitting, thick as
it was, split wide open, just like that no-count, out of date, junky,
horse & buggy copper tube.
So, what does that tell me? Plainly, clearly, obviously, plastic pipe
has the elastic capacity to expand when water freezes within. Copper
tubing and brass have NO such capacity and can only split under
pressure. Anybody who can't understand that difference between the
tensile strength of plastic versus copper, needs to get the junky old
plumbing in his head replaced.
Don't get mad! Get even: smile. ;-)
So like I say, there is no "idea" to it, but simple observation of the
facts, the experience of seeing what happens to this as opposed to
that. In a southern Missouri climate, the PVC can stand it, the copper
can't. Simple as that.Copper plumbing is a lot of outdated, needlessly
labor intensive junk that should have gone out with the horse and
buggy--but for the dictatorial demands of out-dated, brainless
building codes that have no place in a democracy of free people. And
I'll tell you: I don't give a hoot what the code says. This is MY
house and I'll plumb it just as I see fit. I mean, what do they think
this is running through my lines, nitric acid for the godsakes? It's
just water! Why would they need a code for that? Let them come and
bust me for it. Then I'll have my day in court to tell 'em what I
think of their dictatorial un-American poison peddling crap. Look up
"copper sulfate" sometime in a list of poisons, if you think there's
something real nice about drinking water fed to you through a dirty
old line of that! It's used as a pesticide, like arsenic . . .
Better is to prevent the pipes from freezing as the frozen
pipe will be damaged in one way or another.
Well of course! That's why I installed for that house (which is vacant
and up for sale) a tee, adapter, hose connector and cap so that come
winter I can drain all the water out of the house. Lo and behold there
was still some water trapped in the line. Argh! Next winter if the
place is still not off my hands I'll bring my air compressor to blow
it all out of there through the faucets, just like we do for the motor-
When ice is formed it expands
and can split a pipe, crack an elbow, or damage the hardest rock or
I don't know which is dumber, the kind of home-owner who wouldn't know
that, or the kind who thinks he would have to tell another home-owner
about it. Maybe you got some advice on the advantage of cutting grass
with a lawn-mower over a pair of electric hair-clippers? C'mon pal,
tell me something I don't know!
You need to either use insulation or heat to correct the problem
or change the location.
Nope. I'll use that drain I installed and the air-compressor, just
like I said--but you know, EXT, thanks all the same. :-)
--Thanks to Molly for the pretty picture. I'll look for that.
--And to Lefty for the description of how to use it--stopping short of
that shoulder so it doesn't flare. And especially to Lefty AND Molly
for saving me the trouble of doing as Benick suggests, digging all the
way under that foundation to get at a straight section of tube! Oof.
--To Evan and Jim for the story on pex.
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