I was replacing my outdoor faucet last week and came across an issue I didn’t realize I had — hanging pipes in my crawl space.
Unfortunately, long pipe runs are affected by the weight of water and gravity. Without proper support, these sagging pipes can break at the joints, burst open, or split. And that could cost you a lot of patience and money.
Here’s what you need to know to support a hanging pipe in your home.
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How to Support Hanging Pipes: Tips for Your Home
The bottom line is this: long runs of pipe need to be supported to take the weight off threaded, soldered, or cemented connections.
The good news is that you can do this easily with pipe hangers, wood scraps, or even wire hangers. And there are a ton of different hanger types for every kind of situation. You can find them easily online or at your hardware store. If you have an unusual situation, try a plumbing supply house.
Plastic & Copper Pipes
Although plastic and copper won’t kink, they sag when filled with water. The weight can break the joints (or connections) and cause a serious leak. This, in turn, can cause expensive water damage and a whole lot of frustration.
Space and install hangers every three feet for plastic and copper pipes.
PRO TIP: If you’re hanging a metal pipe, make sure the hangers are made of the same metal material as the pipe. Plastic can use metal or plastic hangers and supports.
Galvanized Steel Pipes
Plastic and copper pipes generally need more support than galvanized steel. So, you can make a solid support system for galvanized steel by spacing your hangers every 4 feet.
Of course, you can stick to the above every-3-feet rule if you prefer.
Pipes on 90-degree Turns
Where a pipe makes a 90-degree turn, you won’t be able to hang it, regardless of the type of pipe material.
Instead, support the bend in the pipe with by placing a wood brace underneath it. Another option is to use a strap-style hanger.
Pipes on Masonry
If the pipe snakes along a masonry wall, hangers often can be installed with concrete nails.
To do this, drive the nails flush with the hangers, then stop hammering. Too much hammering will loosen the nails.
Check Your Local Codes
Make sure you check with your local government before you apply any of the above.
It’s possible that your area might have plumbing codes which require different kinds of materials, supports, and spacing to properly hang your unsupported water supply pipes.
Final Thoughts: Hanging Pipes
It’s easy to understand why a long run of pipe needs to be supported. I mean, just hold your hands out for a few minutes. They’ll begin sagging real quick, right?
Thankfully, supporting a long run of pipe with pipe hangers is incredibly easy. If you can mount a picture frame on a wall, you can hang or support a pipe.
Just remember the tips above, head to your hardware store or supply house for materials and get out your drill and screwdrivers. That’s all you’ll need.
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