PVC Pipe Freezing Experiement – Intro

What’s it take to break PVC – Field Experiement?

Part 1

I love to know from first hand experience. I usually feel vulnerable to taking information from someone whose values and standards I do not know. In the world, there are plenty of information regurgitators, but few with original knowledge. I revere the concept of knowing something, but it has to be deep, personal knowledge not the type that comes from averaging other regurgitators perspectve on something.

I love to know.

The Standard Water Line Clearing Story

If you read about winterizing your pool or irrigation system or a water line, the general gist is you must completely empty your lines. Pool and irrigation / sprinkler system owners pay hundreds of dollars each year to service providers to completely empty or blow their lines and then add anti-freeze to insure their buried PVC pipes  won’t break. The marketing is filled with motivating fear “Close you pool properly or risk digging up your yard for expensive fixes”. I’m not saying don’t do it but instead get a sense of perspective, an understanding how careful one needs to be.


For me, fear based marketing is usually an indication that some research… real research needs to be performed. Freakonomics covered the actual benefit of car seats over a child seat-belted in the rear seat. Tire companies put infants sitting in the middle of tires, electrical contractors play up the risk of electrocution.

A Careful Study of PVC Pipes Tolerance to Freezing

I’m taking a Mythbusters or citizen scientist approach to verifying exactly how tolerant PVC plumbing is to freezing. How far do you need to go to protect your lines? How much water needs to be removed, Anti freeze put in etc. How much is enough  is enough to protect buried or exposed PVC pipes from breaking due to freezing?


This winter (2017/18), I performed a controlled , 3 month experiment on different size, percentage filled and concentration anti freeze was enough to protect the PVC pipes.

My findings were surprising!

I’ll soon be posting a video of my findings once most of the below freezing nights are behind us.