DIY Tips For Making PVC Pipe Repairs In Cold Weather

Posted on: 8 July 2015

Since Murphy's Law usually dictates that your home's plumbing will fail on the coldest day of the year, you will be happy to know that you can easily repair polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe plumbing even in sub-zero temperatures.

PVC pipe is used in many residential plumbing systems today because it is:

  • inexpensive
  • easy to cut
  • easy to assemble

Additionally, PVC pipe can be effortlessly repaired in extremely cold temperatures.

Here are some tips you can use next time you need to make a PVC pipe repair in cold weather:

Tip: Always Use PVC Primer Prior to PVC Glue

The purpose of using PVC primer before applying PVC glue is to soften the outer edges of the pipe. Unlike traditional glue products, PVC glue doesn't actually glue the pipes together. The product simply dissolves the PVC on the outside of the pipe, and the inside of the fitting, and allows them to cure together as one single unit. This is the reason that there isn't any way to unglue PVC pipes. They are not just glued together, they are molded into one new uniform pipe.

When working with PVC glue in very cold weather, you should store the container inside and only bring it outside while gluing. This will keep the glue from freezing and becoming much less effective. If the PVC glue is not free-flowing, then it is too cold for you to use it.

Tip: Completely Dry All Pipe Ends and Fittings

One trick for working with PVC in freezing temperatures is to remove any water from the pipe and connections that you are gluing. This will help the pipes to cure together well without leaving small cracks that will leak. However, this can be a challenge because simply wiping down the pipes with a rag, as you would do in warmer temperatures, can leave a thin layer of water that freezes on the pipe.

To remove all moisture, you can use a heat gun if you own one. You can also use your hairdryer. The hairdryer or heat gun will evaporate all of the water and ice, leaving you with nice dry pipes and fittings to glue.

Bonus Plumber's Tip: Never try to heat a curing pipe! Heating the pipe will cause the glue to dry prematurely and the pipes will not seal together properly. 

Conclusion

As you can see, working with PVC pipe in cold weather requires a bit more effort. If you need additional help with your home's plumbing, you should contact a local plumbing contractor. 

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