Did you know you can line plumbing pipes in freezing temperatures? Many property managers and building owners mistakenly think that pipelining can only occur when the temperature is above freezing. The truth is that pipes can be lined in nearly all weather conditions, even when the temperatures are below 32 degrees. This means that you do not have to wait until spring to take care of your plumbing pipe problems. Here at Nu Flow, we take cold weather epoxy pipe lining very seriously and implement cold weather protocols when installing liners and coatings in plumbing pipes that may be exposed to below-freezing temperatures.
Is It Safe to Perform Epoxy Pipe Lining in Cold Weather?
Absolutely. Just because the temperature is below 32 degrees doesn’t mean that you have to put off your plumbing pipe rehabilitation and repair until spring. It simply means that extra precautions need to be taken in order to ensure the epoxy, pipe liner, and host pipe are warm. The good news is that all of our pipe lining technicians at Nu Flow are trained in cold water installations, which means your plumbing pipes will be safe, and you will get the repairs you need, even during cold weather.
Common CIPP Cold Weather Installation Problems
There are two primary concerns when it comes to installing epoxy in temperatures that are below freezing. They include frozen epoxy and frozen plumbing pipes.
Frozen epoxy doesn’t mix or coat well, and it certainly won’t saturate a felt pipe liner. You can think of it a lot like getting gum out of your hair. Gum is sticky and thick, and if you ever accidentally got gum in your hair, your mother may have put ice on it in order to freeze the gum and break it apart. Epoxy, more or less, acts the same way. Freeze it, and it becomes brittle during the installation process, and it doesn’t have its sticky properties.
Frozen Plumbing Pipes
When we talk about frozen plumbing pipes in this context, we’re not talking about the water freezing in the pipe and bursting it. Instead, we’re talking about a metal or plastic plumbing pipe where the material of the pipe is at a temperature that is less than 32 degrees. When the pipe is extremely cold, the epoxy may not adhere correctly to the host pipe, causing wrinkles and bulges.
Understanding the Ideal Temperature of Epoxy During the Installation and Curing Processes
Epoxy resin and pipeliners, as well as the host pipe, need to be kept at a minimum of 70 degrees throughout the installation process in order to ensure proper adhesion and installation. Once the pipe liner or coating has cured, the temperature of the pipe and liner is not an issue because the liner or coating and host pipe have already fused together to create a pipe within a pipe. This is why pipelining is often referred to as PIP lining (Pipe In a Pipe).
Ways to Keep the Epoxy Pipe Lining Warm
In order to avoid the common problems with installing epoxy pipe liners and coatings in cold weather, several methods can be used to ensure the installation and curing of the liner are a success.
1. Tent the Work Area
The easiest way to keep the work area and epoxy warm is to utilize a tent with supplemental heating. This means that before work begins, a tent is erected over the outdoor work area, and salamander or propane-fired heaters are used to increase the temperature inside the tent to 70+ degrees. Once the tent has reached the desired temperature, the epoxy can be mixed and the pipe liner can be saturated with the epoxy and prepared for insertion.
2. Using an Outbuilding or Trailer
If a tent cannot be erected over the work area, the epoxy can be mixed in the back of a heated trailer or a heated shed, or another outbuilding. The goal of this process is to get and keep the epoxy warm during the mixing phase and while preparing the pipe liner.
3. Heating the Host Pipe
It may be necessary to heat the host pipe, especially if a tent could not be erected. This is most often accomplished by blowing warm air onto the pipe during the insertion and curing phases. The hot air keeps the pipe warm and prevents cold air from coming into contact with the exposed pipe.
Curing Epoxy Pipe Lining in Cold Weather
When the temperatures are extremely cold, it can take longer for the liner to cure once it has been inserted and inflated inside the host pipe. In order to reduce the curing time, hot air, hot water, or steam can be used to keep the temperature of the pipe constant. This will prevent the pipe liner and epoxy from freezing and reduce the curing time for cold weather installations.
Cold Weather Epoxy Pipe Lining with Nu Flow
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you need to hold off on your pipe repairs until spring. Here at Nu Flow, we can evaluate your plumbing pipes with a camera inspection to determine if they would benefit from the epoxy pipe lining process and install the liners in cold weather. This is because we have the tools, equipment, and experience needed to safely and effectively perform CIPP in cold temperatures.
To learn more about cold weather pipe lining installation and to schedule a building pipe assessment, give us a call at 815-790-9000.