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Thread: Hot water PEX in garage froze

  1. #1

    Default Hot water PEX in garage froze

    I've been trying for 2 days to thaw it out. Pex comes out of the wall to a spigot. The pex goes into the wall through the basement and up through the ceiling, tied into the kitchen sink hot water. Last winter this did not happen. I think though, as it worked a few weeks ago that water in the garden hose which was connected to the spigot, caused the pex to freeze. Now I have put heat tape on the pex, over aluminum and covered it with insulation, but that hasn't helped (30 hours) The worst part is, everything is in walls and the basement is finished. I thought about drilling a door knob hole under the kitchen sink and sticking a hair dryer in there. I've ran the hot water in the kitchen for a while, thinking that maybe hot water flowing through the pipes would push the ice along.

    Any ideas appreciated.

  2. #2

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    The faucet type I have is the one on the top.


  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    All you can do is try to warm things up.
    A hair drier may help. Not too hot though. Don't make things worse.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The vast majority of frost free sillcocks CANNOT drain if you leave a stoppered hose on (with say a nozzle on the end), and thus, once the water starts to freeze, it will often freeze the normally dry sillcock, often splitting it, and may continue into the wall some. Be careful trying to defrost things as if that did happen, it could be leaking into the wall/ceiling and it may take awhile to notice, depending on the construction. You can listen carefully, or look at the water meter when everything else is off and try to determine if it is leaking.

    FWIW, while there may be others, the only frostfree sillcocks I know of that can release water even if you leave a hose on, are a few models from Woodford.

    The Pex is probably flexible (stretchy) enough to survive freezing, but fittings and crimp rings may be loosened or broken.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5

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    Got it unfrozen finally but the cap on the thing is leaking. I don't know what it's called.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I think the cap is the cover to the vacuum breaker...if it didn't split the outlet pipe (the shutoff is way inside), it may not leak into the house unless you turn it on. If you're lucky, you can pick up a rebuild kit and maybe stop the leak at the vacuum breaker, but it may require a new valve be installed. Watch for leaks inside the wall when you have it turned on.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7

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    The problem was the f'n cap was stuck to the white plastic thing, or vacuum breaker, both are threaded. I removed the plastic vacuum breaker which was threaded into the cap with 2 pair water pump pliers, marred the crap out of the threads, threaded the plastic piece into the valve and then put the cap on and magically it works. It was fine to begin with but I took it apart and like an idiot didn't remember which side up the little tiny plastic thing on the inside with the oring went. Anyhow, I think this happened to begin with because I washed off a car and then didn't disconnect the hose from the valve. It's never happened before this Winter.

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