1/2 copper bursting from pressure?!?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by harleysilo, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. harleysilo

    harleysilo New Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Georgia
    So I have a half inch copper hot line run from my unfinished basement through garage along peremiter wall, then to outside shower.
    There is a shut off valve in basement that was almost shut but not completely. The outside shower has a valve with a drain thingy on it which is open and the lined drained before winter. I was in garage and heard loud bang, discover this pipe had burst in two spots, at two different times. First spot is in garage along wall, us dry there now, scone place was 1 foot from the shutoff in basement which is in the 60's. No evidence of ice at the rupture, I can take a pic and upload, how could his happen?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,519
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    rupture

    IT froze and ruptured. The ice "disappeared" as soon as water started to gush from the breaks.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The rated working pressure of 1/2" annealed copper is 613 PSI and the tested burst pressure is 3885 PSI. This give you an idea of the power of the freeze expansion of water.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,915
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Anytime it gets below freezing, and then it warms up, we get a rash of calls to repair copper pipe that is in garage walls.

    I like to replace with PEX where I can, it has a bit more stretch then copper.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  5. harleysilo

    harleysilo New Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Georgia
    Thanks, with that kind of pressure needed to burst this pipe there is no other explainationz
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,915
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    When ice freezes, it enlarges.
    That is why ice floats.
    The volume increases, and the weight stays the same.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,519
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    iceburg

    Which leads to the question, When the iceburg the size of Manhattan Island, in the Antarctic melts, what will happen to the the ocean's water level?
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,930
    Location:
    New England
    The ocean levels are rising. There's a huge one that broke off from ANtarctica approaching Austrailia they are worried about. It broke off a couple of years ago and is still huge after floating and melting in the open ocean that long. they are afraid it might change the local climate and mess with the coral reefs, which are temperature and salinity change sensitive; not counting the problems with shipping lanes.

    I just took a cruise/tour up into Alaska late summer. In Glacier Bay national park, we sailed probably 40-miles into that bay. When it was first recommended to be a park back in the mid-1800's by John Muir, there was no bay...the glaciers extended out into the ocean. Now, there's this huge bay. Oceanfront property may end up being underwater sooner than we think! I feel bad for some of the low-lying islands in the Pacific...some are at best 4-5' above 'normal' sea level. A storm is really nasty, and as the levels rise, they may be uninhabitable within 30-50 years.
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