Water not running

Water not running

PostBy: carlherrnstein On: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:05 pm

I have quite a few fixtures that have stopped working, I assume that I have some frozen pipes. My house has a dirt crawl space and the idiot (wife's uncial), that replaced all the water lines and did some other work, tore a bunch of insulation loose and did not put it back. I got under there to see what is going on, the pipes have no insulation and its frickin cold down there. Me and my neighbor got his salamander under there and tried to run it but, it wouldn't work when we plugged it in. So after work I will try to figure out what's wrong with his heater and try to thaw the pipes.

Now for my question. Assuming the pipes froze solid will they split? I have heard that pex can freeze I am just trying to get a handle on the degree of mess I am in.
I am afraid I'll have a water fall when it all thaws. I know I'll have insulation on the pipes and repair the insulation that was damaged by a plumber.

Funny thing is that the house was 70*-80* when the pipes froze.
carlherrnstein
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: combustioneer model 77B
Coal Size/Type: pea stoker/Ohio bituminous

Re: Water not running

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:10 pm

Get that salamander running and get some heat under there. Hot water and rags works good for thawing pipes in tight quarters. If they froze solid, you will probably have some leaks.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Water not running

PostBy: plumb-r On: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:24 pm

Sorry to hear you have problems. Pex will expand to a point without bursting,so you might get lucky. The fittings on your pex have no give in them either brass,copper or plastic all will freeze and break. Get some heat under there and hope for the best. If you don't have a crimper for pex rings, shark bite fittings make quick work of fixing pipe. I don't trust them long term but patch it for now and do it right when summer comes.
plumb-r
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 608 Energy Master I Stoker


Re: Water not running

PostBy: Lightning On: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:25 pm

I use a hair dryer on frozen copper pipes. My buddy said pex will swell instead of splitting. Copper will usually take a few cycles before they split so maybe you'll be lucky :D
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Stove Size Mix

Re: Water not running

PostBy: McGiever On: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:31 pm

Copper comes in different hardness's...annealed.
Only the soft coiled stuff can be forgiving.
Then there are different wall thickness's.
Most commonly used is more prone to split .
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Water not running

PostBy: 009to090 On: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:37 pm

I got a Torpedo heater aimed under my crawl space right now. My PEX pipes did freeze, they freeze once or twice a year, but they always thaw out without bursting.
Knock on Wood!
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: Water not running

PostBy: jjs777_fzr On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:29 am

My upstairs apt unit toilet supply line froze this past Saturday when temps went to -4F. I've lived here for 13yrs and this is the first time I've seen the line freeze up.
I aimed a electric heater on the wall / under the toilet and a few hours later the line cleared.
The toilet is located against an outside wall - not the best location for colder climates.
From what I've seen the plumber that had owned my house prior had used the thicker copper for all water lines.
I Don't know if that means it is more resistant to a few freezing cycles or not.
I'm very lucky no leaks - as the toilet is located above my living room.
jjs777_fzr
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Penn Coal Stove & Chubby
Other Heating: CFM Wood Stove & Englander 25-PDVC Pellet Stove

Re: Water not running

PostBy: Hambden Bob On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:08 am

Carl,best you can do is shut off supply at the last warm point of flow. Leave all frozen end points open(Hot & Cold) and Torpedo heat to thaw. Watch distance to combustibles with that Puppy and then wait to see what survived. Sounds like you'll have a new project to do after this! Good Luck ! :flex:
Hambden Bob
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman 1998 Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice-A-Roni !

Re: Water not running

PostBy: freetown fred On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:18 am

Wellll, what the hell is goin on ch??????????????????????
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Water not running

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:45 am

All good answers.

From my experience, 27 degrees seems to be the ugly number. If things freeze, but stay above 27 you will have more luck than if they freeze below 27. Of course Pex is more forgiving than copper, but, a larger factor on breaking pipes is freeze cycles. Especially with copper, each time they freeze, it stretches the pipe. Pex will return to it's original shape to a certain point, copper does not. After 2 or 4 freeze that cycles copper stretches thin & poof, it splits. I've seen some impressively large 1/2" copper pipes. It certainly doesn't happen in one freeze. Those pipes that freeze and break after being OK for 20 years.... they probably froze once each six years? Hard to guess.

If you know that it's going to be a night that your pipes will probably freeze, let the faucet dribble all night. Moving water won't freeze. But...don't let it drip.....drip.....drip. It needs to be a steady dribble for two reasons. One: If it's cold enough it might freeze between drips and two, a slow drip drip drip can cause the drain to freeze. A steady dribble will carry enough BTU's to keep ice from forming in the drain pipes. A lone toiler you can trig the flapper & turn the toilet valve down to a dribble.

Other than that.... insulation helps, but only slows the process. Out in the open if it's cold enough long enough, stuff freezes no matter what. There needs to be some BTU's going IN if you know what I mean. There is a huge difference between interior pipes freezing and exterior pipes freezing. If exterior pipes freeze on a regular basis then heat tape is going to come into play. Good heat tape is not cheap. ( I think they have stopped making the cheap stuff anyway) The god news is, good heat tape is not stupid expensive to use.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Water not running

PostBy: 009to090 On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:36 am

Spent about 4 hours yesterday thawing out my water pipes under the crawl space. It 2 Bullet/Torpedo heaters to get it done. Got er thawed out, and found one geyser. A small section of pipe going thru a dry-stacked stone wall was still copper, and it split.... right in the middle of the stone wall :mad: impossible place to solder back together. Had to disconnect both ends, pull it thru one end, cut out split, add coupling, slide back into stone wall, reconnect both ends.. all on my belly and elbows. I hate crawl spaces...
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: Water not running

PostBy: Lightning On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:59 am

I had a problem freeze spot on my kitchen sink line. At that particular location, its only crawl space.. I don't mean on your knees either. It is so shallow I have to pull myself forward with my elbows while totally laying down flat. I would shimmy in there with a hair dryer and thaw out the pipes. It was an awful place to get to. I got sick of that. So, 6 years ago I ran a heat tape line down the cold line and back on the hot line. I never plugged it in. The plug hangs in an accessible place in my basement. On the -15 degrees night, I got up for work and ran water on both the hot and cold sides, then the wife ran them when she got up about 4 hours later. Everything was fine. Then last night it got down to -1. Since today is my day off, I didn't get up in the middle of the night to run water. This morning, no water on the cold side. I went in the basement and plugged in the heat tape, first time in 6 years. 30 minutes later still no water. I noticed the thermostat part of the heat tape was draped over a warm air duct :lol: ... So it thought it was warm. I relocated the thermostat where cold air was oozing into the basement thru the crawl space. 5 minutes later, I hear water running in the kitchen sink. This was the first time I had to use the heat tape. It was nice not to get in that crawl space this time, 6 years later..

If I could go back in time, to that moment I installed that heat tape, I would shake hands with myself cause I'm so pleased right now :D

Good luck to those with frozen pipes, :( do a little preventative maintenance now, so later you won't struggle with it like I had to in the past.
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Stove Size Mix

Re: Water not running

PostBy: carlherrnstein On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:35 am

OK last night I looked at the torpedo heater Its deader than a hammer the wires that supply power to the sealed motor don't have continuity so I figure the motor is shot.

On to the good news all my fixtures have running water :D the spigot to the master tub/shower was a quick one I pulled the electric dryer out, unhooked the vent and took the access panel to the water shut off, then just turned the dryer on and a half a hour later the hot/cold water was running but, the water in the trap had froze so I pored some table salt down the drain and ran a small tube down the overflow drain and hooked a small fountain pump to the tube to circulate the water and about a half a hour later the drain was flowing.

The other bathroom has a access panel to the tub/shower shut off as well and it leads directly to the crawl space (I just realized how handy that is) so I put a box fan right up against opening and blew warm room air into the crawl space all night. This must have warmed the crawl space up enough to thaw the remaining frozen pipes cause I had water at all fixtures when I got up this morning.

I didn't go down there this morning to see what the damage is. I'm guessing at I have at least 1 busted trap, and who know what else. I was mistaken about it being pex tubing its the cream colored cpvc tubing I just assumed it was pex cause it looked too small to be pvc but, that's the hazard when one makes a assumption.
carlherrnstein
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: combustioneer model 77B
Coal Size/Type: pea stoker/Ohio bituminous

Re: Water not running

PostBy: Freddy On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:47 pm

carlherrnstein wrote: ran a small tube down the overflow drain and hooked a small fountain pump to the tube to circulate the water


Ingenious!

Fighting Old Man Winter can be frustrating as the only reward is to "get back to normal" .... You're doing well, keep up the good fight!
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Water not running

PostBy: Hambden Bob On: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:36 pm

Well.I'll tell 'Ya,I found that while Yes,they're Expensive,SharkBite Fittings rule the day in tight spaces. You can use them on Copper,Pex,and that famous"I love To Shatter" CPVC Almond Colored Pipe. No worries,no torches near joists,and they come apart if needed. Good Stuff.... :up: :dancing:
Hambden Bob
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman 1998 Magnum Stoker
Coal Size/Type: Rice-A-Roni !