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Can hamburgers freeze your pipe?



So, imagine this steel container is the water pipe that enters your home. (Unless rainwater is collected or water is made from hydrogen and oxygen, you may only have one.) If the weather is too cold, the water may freeze and actually break the pipe. That’s bad. Now are some questions and answers.

Why is this not common in the South?

Residential water supply lines are almost always underground, which is a good thing. Although the temperature changes dramatically from summer to winter, the ground temperature is much more stable. In the southern states, the ground temperature is unlikely to be below freezing-so the water in the pipeline will also exceed the freezing point (and remain liquid).

But there are some exceptions. In some warm climates, not all parts of the plumbing system will be underground and will pass through the air area. (Oh, I have a water pipe in my attic and I live in a warm place). Although the temperature difference between cold water (assuming 1

degree Celsius) and warm ice (0 degree Celsius) is small, the energy difference is large. It takes a lot of energy to transform water from a solid phase to a liquid. We call it the latent heat of fusion. For water, the value is 344 joules per gram. This may be difficult to understand, so what about an example?

Suppose you have a liter of ice (the mass is about 1,000 grams). If you want to take ice at 0 C and convert it into water at 1 C, you will need 344,000 joules of energy (plus a little bit of energy to raise the temperature of the water). How much energy is that? Well, suppose you have a smartphone with a 3,000 mAh battery (milliampere hour). This is equivalent to 41,000 joules. Therefore, it may have enough energy to keep your phone running all day, but you will need eight to nine of them to melt all the ice.

This is actually a good thing. This means that you can use melted ice to cool drinks, but you don’t actually need as much ice. This also means that you need to remove a lot of heat from the pipe to freeze it. A cold night may not be enough to rupture the pipeline.

Does keeping the tap running help?

Yes it is. Okay, suppose you are in the water pipe. (Yes, you are very small now.) If the water is still, you may get stuck in a part of the pipe exposed to cold air. In fact, you may freeze and then you must disconnect the pipe. But now suppose it is tap water, caused by a slightly dripping tap. You are still a small person in the pipeline, but now you are also moving. After you pass through the cold pipe part, it will become cold, but will not freeze. Instead, you only need to move to other parts of the house.

Oh, but more water from the main underground pipeline is entering the cold part of the pipeline. Will it freeze? It is unlikely. Remember that the water pipe is at ground temperature, which is almost certainly not below freezing. Therefore, the incoming water is not too cold, I hope it will not freeze.

What about insulation?

Insulation helps. If you wrap some foam insulation around any exposed pipe, it will serve the same purpose as a cooler or insulated beverage cup. Insulation reduces the rate at which energy is transferred from hot objects to cold objects through thermal interactions. If you put a cold drink on the table, energy will be transferred to the drink, causing the temperature to rise. On the other hand, placing the beverage in a cool place will increase the insulation effect and reduce the rate of energy transfer, which will make it take longer for the beverage to warm up.


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