some pipes frozen in house

countryliving2013January 23, 2013

We have older home with no basement but crawl space where pipes are. Insulation was put around them in summer. However, we have had some days of frigid weather and winds and going down to -31 and more overnight tonight. Water trickled out this morning and then was fine all day. Later in evening cold water in kitchen and bathroom sink stopped completely, shower works both. Toilet when flushed does not refill with water downstairs.

Upstairs bathtub and sink cold water works but no hot water. Complete opposite of downstairs? So now to find the problem..and it is late so it will have to wait till morning. Hoping no pipes burst.

Should the water be turned off completely in house to prevdent any problems if pipes burst tonight? Is there a chance they won't burst? As I said it is very cold out there tonight with a windchill so far -31. This happened to one faucet last year but we had it happen in daylight and we thawed the pipes under the house out and it fixed it...but hoping with so many faucets effected that it is only one area frozen? or not?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated..thanks in advance.

This post was edited by countryliving2013 on Wed, Jan 23, 13 at 22:03

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alan_s_thefirst

If you can safely put a space heater/fan heater down in the crawl, I'd do so. It doesn't have to be cranked up too high.

I've also heard in an emergency, leave a tap turned slightly on to keep the water flowing. I'd hesitate at that, though, it seems like a big waste of water....

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:04AM
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countryliving2013

thanks...this morning all pipes were frozen ...NO WATE... minus 33 so putting heater under house at pipe to see if that is the problem spot...just dont need burst pipes...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:38AM
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brickeyee

Without a source of heat insulation does not do very much.

It only slows the movement of heat, it does not HALT the movement.

Your best bet might be to turn off the supply to the lines and drain them for the winter.

If the lines also supply inside water heat tape with a thermostat is the next patch.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:54AM
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countryliving2013

I heard using a heat tape was a fire hazard as it would have to go under the house on the pipes and if it was to catch fire or something then it is out of site under the house?

Thanks..but right now were thinking of putting a 1500watt furnance heater infrared type that are new on market..under the house in crawl space directed at pipes that we feel are frozen? That could help and be safe without causing it to get to hot and catch on fire.

If the pipes are frozen how can they be drained if no water is coming out?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:00PM
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southerncanuck

I see you are in Canada, must be new to country living or spend winters down south. Not knowing if you are on city water or a well or cistern the first thing I would do is change to ABS with inline heating, ABS is less likely to split as well. Since you are talking -31 temps, C or F, that's cold. A 1500w heater will do nothing in an open space with subzero temps. The heat must be local to the water lines unless the crawlspace is airtight and insulated, then a small heater will do. Heat wrap is not a fire hazard, 7 watts per foot and they are used in millions of homes. And it sure is much more cost effective than a space heater. Go to your local HomeHardware or Canadian Tire store and check out your options.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:49AM
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alan_s_thefirst

Heat tape is the way to go. You will need to re-wrap the pipes over the tape. It's quite safe. Put a smoke detector in the crawl space.

I would still look at heating the crawl at least to just above freezing - your floors must be cold!

Look at better insulation around the outside walls, too.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:31PM
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countryliving2013

Well day five of no hot water. We have a heater downstairs in crawl space, husband has been insulating as much as he can. He had to remove plastic pipe about 13 feet long that went to hot water tank as no cold water was getting there...it was totally frozen..so thawed and put back. Then an elbow to hot water burst and was replaced only for another area to do the same thing. We have running cold but no hot and hoping today is the day to get fixed.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:50AM
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dreamgarden

"Well day five of no hot water."

Wow. What an aggravation to have to go 5 days with no hot water. The temps are due to go up within the next couple days. Hopefully, you and DH will get this resolved before they drop again.

In the meantime, here is a link to another plumbing forum where you might get a quicker response. They serve Canada and the U.S..

Best of luck to you! Please post back when its fixed!

A link that might be useful:

www.terrylove.com/forums/forum.php

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:39AM
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doug_gb

What you need to do this spring / summer is to move those pipes inside the house. Maybe you need to build a soffit, or utilize a closet, the pipes need to be in a heated space. I don't know the source of your water but that too should be enclosed and heated (maybe with a 100 watt bulb or two.)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Mainecleaners

Here is a great blog to help home owners prevent frozen pipes. Burst pipes can lead to water damage which is not fun to deal with. Hope this article is helpful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tips to Prevents Frozen Pipes

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:13AM
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brickeyee

"I heard using a heat tape was a fire hazard as it would have to go under the house on the pipes and if it was to catch fire or something then it is out of site under the house?

Thanks..but right now were thinking of putting a 1500watt furnance heater infrared type that are new on market..under the house in crawl space"

that sounds so much safer than heat tape.

You heard wrong about heat tape.

Correctly installed it is not a fire hazard.

You could always put a smoke detector down there, then interconnect it with one in the living space so both go off if either goes off.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 3:58PM
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