Frozen pipes encased in slab

graywings123January 24, 2014

The water lines to the laundry room in the back of my house are encased in the foundation slab. They come up an exterior wall to inside spigots that connect with hoses to the washer.

I kept the room quite warm last night, which should have kept the vertical pipes from freezing, but the cold water line isn't producing any water. I've removed the washing machine hoses, and nothing is coming from that spigot.

I can wait it out until the outside temps warm up, but should I be worried about damage to the line encased in the slab? How do you know whether anything's wrong?

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graywings123

The line has thawed and the spigot is working. Now my question is whether I need to be worried about damage to the line in places I can't see or access . . . without a jackhammer.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:29PM
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aliceinwonderland_id

Any time you freeze lines you need to be concerned about damage. In a slab, often you won't know anything is wrong until the leak is relatively large. Keep an eye on it, looking for moisture, mold, excessive water use (if you have a meter).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 6:47PM
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klem1

Oh my gosh! You have my word,if a pipe froze,it is between the slab and "spigot".
As to whether damage was done,maybe. How do you know there is a leak without being able to inspect pipe inside wall? Make certain all facuets and toilets are not dripping then open water meter lid and clean face of meter. Return to closest facuet and open it to a small stream/spray. Go to meter and look for a moving needle or wheel. Turn facuet back off. Watch the needle/wheel for 5 minutes for movement. Movement means water is going some where. Watch the floor behind washer and foundation outside for water. How long have you lived here? Has this happened before? Was tempature record low for your area? Have you replaced facuets,toilets and water lines as a diy in the passed?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:44PM
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graywings123

Thanks for the advice. I will have to buy a water meter key so I can access the meter.

I have owned the house for three years but this is the first prolonged bitter cold weather we have had. It is possible this has happened before - I am only aware of it because I tried to use the washing machine. It's possible the water in this pipe has been freezing and defrosting all along.

If the problem is with the pipe above the slab, I'm surprised that heating the room really well didn't prevent freezing. And why did the cold water line freeze and not the hot? It's not like the hot water is being run - the washer won't run without the cold tap working.

I don't DIY plumbing, except very minor toilet tank repairs.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:18AM
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bus_driver

Your pipe is highly unlikely to be leaking. For the moment I am unable to locate my favorite reference on the subject but the link below summarizes it rather well.Some find the study of this material to be tedious -- but so is replacing burst pipes.
Read and understand this article.
For example, after understanding this article, one can see that simply shutting off the main and opening all the faucets will prevent most pipe bursting in unheated buildings if it is done before freezing begins.

Here is a link that might be useful: Study

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:43AM
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bus_driver

Here is a better article. Careful reading is required.

Here is a link that might be useful: Freezing

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:52AM
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graywings123

Thanks, bus driver. I need to sit down and do a close reading of that.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:42AM
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