Is PEX or Copper Pipe More Likely To Freeze?

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richard CURREY

Subject: freezing pipes

cold water running very slowly in a long thin pipe outside in very cold weather will reach 0 centigrade at some point before it gets to the end of the pipe,
but it depends upon all of those parameters. it is a quantitative problem, not a qualitative yes/no problem,
but can be solved without great difficulty if the relevant numbers are available :
mechanical dimensions, thermal conductivities of the materials, their thermal heat capacities, temperatures of the water and of ambient, and flow rate.
we all did this kind of calculation at school !
by the way, good insulation does not speed up freezing, nor does it speed up heating.
it reduces the rate of heat transfer, loss or gain - that's why it goes on pipes, in walls, in motorcars.
in other words, it slows down freezing and it slows down heating.
but eventually, thermal equilibrium is reached. so the pipe freezes !!


Subject: Main Water Valve

Can you send me a picture of what the main water valve looks like? I know that sounds pretty dumb but I don't know which one it is and want to shut it off when I leave town. Thanks.

stu mckeown

Subject: copper or plastic water pipes outside?

i have copper pipes from my house out to my washhouse for the sink etc there. however one has burst and needs replaced. should i replace with copper or plastic? It runs a few meters under concrete patio.


Subject: freezing water

Part of the difference is the water coming from that pipe is always going to be above freezing. The water in a stream is totally exposed for many miles above ground and subject to temperature dropping.

So, if water from a pipe is left dripping the idea is that it will keep the pipes warm enough to not freeze.

Those on wells know this very well. Those who practice this method and have a well-insulated well house usually only suffer broken pipes after an extended power outage caused by winter storm.


Subject: Running water does freeze

Look at any lake or stream or even a river can freeze and there all running rapid don't say running water can't freeze as I have personally let water not only drip but let a steady stream come out of the tap and it still froze overnight at about 10 degrees f.


Subject: why running water in streams freeze

Running water in streams will freeze but usually only an upper layer. The difference is that the stream is totally exposed to the weather while pipe water, while flowing, always will be above freezing. I don't think that most streams totally freeze over unless it would be very small spring, and again, what's coming up out of the ground is going to always be above freezing.

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