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Question DetailsAsked on 1/10/2018

after a very cold spell, my water spits at the faucet at first, why?

temps were 10 below and now they are 40 degrees. when the water is turned on faucets sputter at first and sometimes the water is yellowish. Is this bad? are the pipes thawing out?

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1 Answer


Since only happens during real cold spells, and assuming your pipes are exposed outdoors or in an unheated and uninsulated crawlspace, most likely you have freezing starting - which can also break up mineral accumulations in the pipe so cause it to turn reddish, yellow, or brownish depending on your particular pipe conditions.

This is not a good thing - if a section of the pipe freezes solid, especially if two sections freeze a ways apart with water still in between, then splitting can be expected. In the first case the pressure from the expanding ice just forces the water away from the "freezing front" - where it is actively freezing, so normally for awhile that pressure can be dissipated in the house, or by forcing water back to the source on the other side - commonly not splitting pipes if a localized thing. Freeze up where there is another blockage (ice blockage, backflow preventer, pressure regulator, etc) then as the ice expands into the water zone, there is nowhere for the pressure to dissipate so eventually it can split the pipe. Freezing fresh water can put out pressures of many thousands of psi - which pipes and appliances designed for maximum overpressures of maybe 200 to at most 600 psi just do not like - so the pipes split open.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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