If this were found in my territory there would be 2 plumbing issues and several insulation concerns.
The swollen water pipe shown is a repair job and an indicator of seasonal freezing in this local.
The second plumbing issue is the lack of a drain valve after the shut off valve. The shut off valve is there so you can seasonally close that section of pipe that runs to to exterior. But here the pipe rises before exiting through the rim joist. So you can turn off the water and open the hose bib on the out side but the vertical piece of pipe and the part running back to the valve will still be filled with water. There is no means to drain this water so the home owner is relying luck with the weather and basement heat loss to keep the pipes from freezing.
This is a classic example of under-insulating the rim joist area. Note the water staining on the wood where the pipe enters. Assuming there has been no leakage from the exterior this is water accumulated from condensation on the pipe.
Here (Canada) the whole vertical height of the rim joist space is expected to be filled with insulation (from the sill plate up to the subfloor). That insulation has to be sealed behind continuous vapour barrier, usually 6 mil polythene and all joints and edges covered and sealed with (red) vapour barrier tape.
Massachusetts’ climate is not much different than here, so full rim joist insulation and vapour barrier installation would better serve this home and improve energy efficiency.
Sadly, even here this, detail is often omitted or left to the home buyer to do as developers don’t understand its importance and know it to be a fussy, labour intensive job (read cost).
The good news is that a handy informed home owner can do this improvement in a few weekends and very low cost. They often see a dollar saving on heating bills that will pay for the materials in the first calendar year.
ANSWER: Swollen Water Supply Line In Need of Repair
It’s not uncommon to find swollen water supply lines in those parts of the country that experience freezing temperatures. However, it’s only when the line bursts that the average homeowner becomes aware of the situation. Then it becomes an insurance claim and possibly major damage to the home.
This line is connected to a hose faucet or sprinkler system valve at the exterior of the home. The swelling is the result of improper winterization of the sprinkler system or a garden hose left connected to the hose bib. Residual water in the supply line froze and expanded, swelling the pipe to its current near-bursting dimensions. The water supply valve pictured above needs to be turned off prior to the first freeze and residual water drained from the line running to the exterior. This particular supply line is defective in its current state and needs to be repaired.
Always ensure all your outside water sources are properly prepared for the coming winter season. This is a simple task, but can have huge consequences if ignored.
A big thanks to U.S. Inspect’s Rob Amaral for sharing this snap-shot from one of his Massachusetts inspections.
Posted By: U.S. Inspect Blog
Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post