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Old 01-21-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
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ABS Thermal Contraction


I was wondering if someone would be so kind as to point me in the right direction on were I can find the answer to the following problem.

I have a 2 ABS plumbing pipe that is installed outdoors and is exactly 20 feet long at 20 degrees Celsius. If the temperature drops to -20 degrees Celsius, what will be the new length of my ABS pipe?

Please let me know where I can find this information.

Thanks, Steven

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Old 01-21-2009, 08:28 PM   #2
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ABS Thermal Contraction


Hi Steven, this is Bill, the moderator from the other forum. I do not know the answer to your question, but I did bring along part of your last post from PZ, this will help aid people into finding the right answer for you.

Here is that post.

A professional plumbing company installed an outdoor drain on our second floor patio 4 years ago. The patio is completely enclosed by walls so the only way the water can drain is by 2 drains that are located in the middle of the patio. The patio slopes both ways so the water runs towards the drains in the middle of the deck. The two drains are 20 feet apart. The one drain is directly over the drainage stack and the other branches out horizontally 20 feet. Every spring or late winter the one drain that branches out 20 feet always cracks on the lip that goes over top the deck. I believe that the reason for this is because the 20 feet of abs pipe contracts and twist the drain so it then cracks. The crack always forms on the other side of the drain were the pipe leads to the other drain.

Can anyone please let me know if this is a possibility or does abs pipe not contract at all in cold weather.

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Old 01-21-2009, 08:31 PM   #3
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ABS Thermal Contraction


BTW, pipe of any material will shrink in cold weather and expand in warm. Thats why we plumbers are supposed to install expansion joints especially with copper pipes that travel long distances. In my opinion it should not hurt the pipe at all. UNLESS it is installed in such a way that it simply can not move.

Lets see what some others have to say.
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:58 AM   #4
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ABS Thermal Contraction


Well...In case anyone is interested I have found out the answer to my problem. Here it is:

A 20 foot ABS pipe that was installed at an ambient temperature of +20 Celsius will contract by 0.6048 inches when exposed to -20 Celsius temperatures, a 40 degrees temperature swing.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:47 PM   #5
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ABS Thermal Contraction


Thats between 9/16 to 5/8 inch. Not enough to break a pipe.

Something else going on in my opinion.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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ABS Thermal Contraction


The pipe is not breaking but the lip on the drain that is attached to the pipe is.

The temperature swings here are actually 60 degrees Celsius (it goes down to -40 in the winter) which would calculate to a contraction of 0.907 inches. I believe it might not be enough to break the pipe but it would certainly pull on the drain and twist it enough to break the lip.

Please let me know if you would agree.

Thanks, Steven

Last edited by steven723; 01-23-2009 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 01-24-2009, 07:38 AM   #7
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ABS Thermal Contraction


I would try insulating the line to reduce expansion and contraction, also check out the mounting of the floor drain flange. Is it correct? Or did the plumber jury rig it because of an useen problem while installing?

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