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Thread: Help! Frozen pipes and minus 33 outside

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member countrypeople's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Prince Edward Island

    Default Help! Frozen pipes and minus 33 outside

    We have older home with no basement and dirt crawl space where pipes are mostly. Last year we froze also but it was a easy fix and used heater to defrost pipe at side of house .

    Last night we had no hot water upstairs but we had cold running water. Downstairs in kitchen and bathroom we had only hot water running and no cold water. That was strange. In bathroom downstairs we had both hot and cold?? Again couldnt figure it out.

    This morning around 5 a.m. I checked water in downstairs bathroom and ran hot and it came on. Then around 8 a.m. all water stopped running upstairs and downstairs.

    To keep the cold from going under house we use tar paper and straw to bank around it. However with this cold snap cold air has got under and froze the pipes. We had insulation on parts of them.

    Hubby has now removed some of the banking and has located the pipe and faucet which is frozen, atleat one of them, so he has a small heater on it to help thaw, carefully monitoring it to make sure it doesnt get to hot or chance of fire, also using hair dryer on that faucet to see if it will start water flow. Not sure if there are other blockages somewhere, whereto find them?

    As I said it is a crawl space underneath the house, wasn't the best built for these winters.

    As of now there have been no pipes break, however, it is our worst nightmare, so if we can thaw out the pipes on our own, then we must make sure they don't refreeze? What should we do? Anyone help us please? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Insulation isn't magic...it can't create heat, it only slows the transfer of heat. If there's no heat there, it won't make any! You may need to put down a good vapor barrier on the ground and carefully seal and insulate the foundation walls and rim joist. This would help trap some of the building's heat, and help prevent it from leaking out. Any air movement from leaks will overcome that heat and allow things to get cold enough to freeze. I'm not a big fan of heat tape, but as a temporary fix, that should help if it is applied properly. Won't help if the power goes out.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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