Ways to prevent pvc pipes from bursting, which are above ground under deck-solar pipes?

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
391
Pittsburgh, pa
Its that time of year again for me at least. Spring when i go to test my pipes after winter and realize i have more that have cracked. This is on my solar build (which full details are linked in my sig). Its a real nightmare for my 6'6 frame to get under here in the mud and muck and repair things, circular saw and all.

Last fall I took a vac and disconnected the pipes and sucked them out pulling the water.. i think i also did a push on air going the other way, or maybe i forgot on the one side, where i have a check valve/psi it only goes one way.. just beyond this heading towards the back end under my deck it slopes down eventually. I'm guessing water in that spot laid there and froze
solarpipes.jpg


The red area is what cracked (water flows towards this area through the check valve, 1 direction). Also.. circled pvc union is leaking, maybe because its not perfectly square or the valve just failed, as in the fall i disconnected the 3 unions you see, tilted it up and made sure water was out of that tee essentially, then ran the vac on the open ports. All in all i guess i did better this year, last year the hayward valve cracked, but since i had 3 unions i was able to avoid that this year.

On the other end i do have two openings on the garage pipes where i can do a suction on this same pipe (but its coming back from 20 feet or so). Disregard the crossover text below:



I was thinking of putting at least one union where the pipe cracked in red, however, given that the other union suddenly failed, its less appealing thinking it might need changed again.

The rest of the pipe going to my garage is buried 2 feet deep, never an issue, only here under the deck has there been an issue.

So rather than a union I was thinking of coming up with another idea, maybe some material i could just cover the pipe with (bringing in 2 feet of dirt under here just wont work though). I think someone mentioned putting antifreeze in the pipes in the fall, but that sounds too scary even if it does break down or dilute in the chlorine.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Thanks in advance
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
1,979
SE Kansas!
@theskyisthelimit99
...
I think someone mentioned putting antifreeze in the pipes in the fall, but that sounds too scary even if it does break down or dilute in the chlorine.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Thanks in advance
It's safe and I think only recommended to use RV antifreeze.
 

Smokeyhill

Gold Supporter
May 26, 2018
123
Follansbee, Wv
You have electric under there. Put a heat trace on it. Or, put isolation valves in and disconnect the offending pipes for the winter so they cannot fill with water.
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
391
Pittsburgh, pa
Well i decided to put a union in the spot that cracked. Slight side issue. I didnt have quite enough length to push in the pvc pipe into the slip of the one side of the union, its maybe 0.5" at best not fully in, of course i used primer and medium glue however. Wondering if i should cut and try to redo it, or maybe it will be ok long term, its not off by much just slightly. So far water isnt leaking and it hasnt popped loose. Its the water line that goes to the solar panels.

On the idea of using rv antifreeze. So i'd do the usual fall blow/suck with the vac, then just pour some in near where i think it might crack and seal it off (i bring inside everything from that cracked point to the right, so i usually have an open ended tube, need to put something on that open union next fall this time, some kinda plug). I could try the heater option though, but this might be easier if safe.
 
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splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
1,979
SE Kansas!
On the idea of using rv antifreeze. So i'd do the usual fall blow/suck with the vac, then just pour some in near where i think it might crack and seal it off (i bring inside everything from that cracked point to the right, so i usually have an open ended tube, need to put something on that open union next fall this time, some kinda plug). I could try the heater option though, but this might be easier if safe.
Yes, that's it. Once you open for the season, if you can drain the line with the RV antifreeze, what little is left will be consumed by the chlorine. It's non-toxic, just a little more work for the chlorine when you first open.
 
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theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
391
Pittsburgh, pa
Yeah I used a shop vac in the fall, but like i said i must have gone in the wrong direction for the pipe that froze since its one directional, or it didnt have enough blow power or suction. I think now that i have the added union further down and/or using some RV antifreeze, i should be good here on out.

Side note.. so far that slightly less than fully inserted pvc into the union isnt leaking, so i think it should be safe long term if its holding now.
 
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LFrankow

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 27, 2012
528
Medicine Hat, Alberta
When I installed my piping I made sure it all graded to one point, I dug a "well" (rock and gravel filled hole) to help with fall drain down.
In the fall I open the drains, then one by one I blow out my systems, both low point drain and high point air addition point stay open until spring.