Frozen pipe repair

Frozen Pipe Repair

When winter comes and the winds kick up we plumbers are busy with frozen pipe repair. But sometimes you just can’t wait. In this article we’ll discuss how your local lee’s Summit plumbers deal with frozen pipe repair near you. Since soldering copper pipes is a skill most homeowners don’t possess and gluing water pipe can take too long, an alternative way will be discussed.

Push-to-connect fittings

How push-to-connect coupling works
Push-to-connect coupling

Push-to-connect fittings are a brass transition fitting. If you have to repair a pipe that’s either copper, pex or cpvc, these will work in a hurry. And when your water is shut off you’re always in a hurry. They work on the same premise as the old Chinese finger tricks. You push the pipe inside the fittings and a set of “teeth” shaped inward like sharks teeth hold onto the pipe to prevent it from coming out. An o-ring inside the fitting seals around the exterior of the pipe. This creates a water-tight seal.

How to use push-to-connect fittings

If these sound too easy then you’re partly right. For them to work you need to be sure the o-ring can seal onto the pipe securely. That means the pipe needs to be cut straight and the outside can’t have any solder, rough edges or nicks. It also means you need to be sure to push the pipe all the way into the fitting. Make a mark on the pipe showing the correct depth. And don’t allow any sharp edges to damage the o-ring as the pipe is inserted. Lastly, be sure the pipe and fitting stays straight. Any crooked angles or awkward stresses could mean a leak.

Frozen pipe repair with push-to-connect fittings

Every job demands the right tool. In this situation which tool you need depends on the type of pipe you’re working with. Since these fittings only work with copper, pex and cpvc we’ll discuss the necessary tools for working with them.

Cutting different types of pipe

To begin the repair you’ll need to shut your house water off and drain the water system down. Then you’ll have to cut out the damaged section of pipe. But first, let’s look at how to cut different types of common water pipe.

Copper pipe

Copper pipe is the most standard type of water pipe in homes these days. And since frozen pipes are routinely in tight spots, the usual tubing cutter won’t work. The Autocut copper tubing cutter is the tool of choice. It’s simple. It’s small for those tight spaces. And you don’t have to know a lot about plumbing to use them. You do, however, have to know if you’re working with. The size should be printed on the pipe.

Copper tube cutter
Autocut copper tube cutter

To cut with the Autocut copper tubing cutter you simply open the Autocut. Then attach it to the point on the pipe where you want to cut. Then following the directional arrow on the tool, rotate it around the pipe until the cutter wheel has completed the cut. Since you’re cutting out a section of pipe you cut the other side the same way. In this situation you’ll be cutting out the frozen and burst section of pipe.

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX)

repair pex pipe
Plastic tube cutter

Pex pipe is becoming the most common pipe material in new home builds. It has a lot of advantages. One is it’s easy to work with. To cut this particular type of pipe you simply use a plastic tube cutter. Like the copper pipe, you cut out the burst section. There’s usually a little slack in this pipe. Because of this, you should be able to work with it pretty easily after cutting out the burst section.

 

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC)

cut cpvc pipe with a saw
Cutting CPVC pipe

Working with CPVC pipe is the same as working with pvc pipe. You can just use a saw to cut it. A plastic tubing cutter can be used for a cleaner cut. But it takes some work. If you choose to just saw this pipe be sure to clean the debris from the cut. But gluing this pipe really isn’t an option. You’re working with a pressurized water line. The glue will need 24 hours to cure. Most people won’t want to wait that long to get their water back on.

Repairing the pipe

push-to-connect coupling
Copper, PEX, CPVC pipe repair

After you have cut out the damaged pipe you’ll need to repair it. The easiest type of push-to-connect fitting for this repair is the slip repair coupling. These work easily by allowing you to replace the cut out section of pipe with just one fitting.

To begin, be sure your cut is no larger than 2 inches. Clean each end of the cut pipe. Place a mark on each end of the pipe noting the correct depth for insertion. This should be on the packaging. Push the “slip” end on first. Then using the specialty tool slide the the other end together. After the repair you’ll need to slowly turn on your house water to test for leaks. I prefer to partially turn it on. This will allow it to fill slowly and avoid stirring up debris. And if you have a leak it won’t be nearly as bad. Then turn the water the rest of the way on.

Who to call for a frozen pipe repair

When pipes freeze and burst it’s usually at a really bad time. Your water is shut off. You may have your insurance company on the phone. There probably have fans blowing and water restoration people walking around your home. It’s all you can do to keep your family calm. So you’ll want to call your local Lees Summit plumbers at Advocate Master Plumbing. We’ll be prompt, professional and fair. Now please enjoy this instructive video from Sharkbite regarding this repair.

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