Frozen Water Pipe

… inside the fucking house.  I got home from work this morning and tried to wash my hands in the kitchen sink.  The water came on normally (I thought) until I adjusted the faucet for hot water.  It stopped.  Well, almost.  A trickle continued, so I waited about ten minutes until enough the hot water had finally worked its way through the pipes to thaw things out.

Funny, that didn’t happen a few weeks ago when it got down to 10F.  Right now, it’s only 14. At least it is warm enough in the bedrooms to avoid frostbite.

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3 Responses to Frozen Water Pipe

  1. GarandGal says:

    Space heaters work wonders in keeping pipes running. When I lived in a mobile home up north where negatives are the winter norm we had two. One in the bathroom where the water service entered the trailer and one in the kitchen. We opened up the cupboard/closet and aimed it at the pipes, then used foil covered foam insulation board and made a corral around the back of it to help hold and aim the heat. And to block the dogs, but I don’t think you have that issue. I knew lots of people who would put the heater in the cupboard/closet but you don’t want to do that unless your pipe access is way far away from the opening, and even then I’d be very hesitant and would probably set up a small fan inside to circulate the heat rather than put the heater itself in there. Besides being a fire hazard the heater will heat up a small space very quickly and start cycling on and off, not really giving the heat time to penetrate the pipes. We had a a kerosene heater that we would put under the house when it got down into the negative teens and that kept everything free but it made a running muddy mess under there since we were on gravel and not a concrete slab.

    • alaskan454 says:

      The biggest problem with a space heater is that every one I own is busy trying ti keep the bedrooms warm. I only have two more circuits that don’t already have one on it. The kitchen is away from the rest of the water use points, and the pipes run down the exterior wall before stubbing through the wall. Not sure where to put the space heater even if I had another one. So far, the pipes under the house have stayed clear, ~knocks vigorously on the nearest wood-like substance~ with the only problem being the outside spigot and the kitchen hot. I can live without those, as long as nothing breaks.

  2. GarandGal says:

    Good luck 🙂 I’m not a plumber but I know that we had a “valve” installed in the mobile home that was specifically designed to sacrifice itself if/when the pipes froze, you might want to investigate that route. If I recall correctly it wasn’t a cheap thing ($30 back in the early 90’s) to replace but it was a darned bit cheaper than replacing all the pipes to the kitchen sink, which were the ones that always burst. I don’t know if they make something like that for house pipes or not. Other things we did besides heat tape and space heaters were to drip the faucets and when it was super cold we’d turn the water off and drain the pipes at night and put a couple of glugs of antifreeze down the drains. We started doing that after one fun night that was -22 with a -60 windchill. I woke up to find a stalagmite of ice formed from the drain reaching half way to the dripping faucet. Pretty, and pretty expensive. I don’t think it’s likely to get quite that cold where you are, but your house is probably less weatherproofed than the mobile home was. We insulated that thing within an inch of it’s life including the floor and skirting. If we could have figured out a way to staple insulation to the outside we would have considered it. If you know where the pipes run outside and it’s feasible you might consider putting something there to act as a heat sink and to shelter it. Wood pile, black barrels, etc. We were fortunate in that our outdoor plug and driveway was next to where the water service was so we parked the cars there and used them to block the wind and plugged their block heaters in to keep them starting. Didn’t stop the tires from freezing to the ground but that’s a different problem LOL

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