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Author Topic: Cures for frozen pipes  (Read 5228 times)

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Offline fourstring

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Cures for frozen pipes
« on: January 28, 2014, 08:15:34 PM »
So we moved into a new house last year and everything's hunky-dory, but we have one single pipe that consistently freezes.  Unfortunately, it's the cold water feed to the main (only) shower, so the morning routine now involves a few minutes with a hair dryer in the basement.

I'm in the process of insulating, but I'm looking at a couple of the sensor-based heating systems.  Is there anything to look for, brands to recommend?  Am I going to electrocute the whole family putting these on the shower line?
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Online SLK50

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2014, 08:26:03 PM »
Go to your local hardware store or plumbing supply and ask
for "Heat Tape". It's for exactly this scenario.
It's an electric heating element that wraps around your pipe.
Should be available in several lengths.
It has its own thermostat.
Water flow will briefly be slightly warmer then return to
normal during use. Bye-bye frozen pipes.
Till then, let the water trickle. Flowing water won't freeze.
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Offline Mr. Whippy

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Offline Mac

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 08:41:16 PM »
This will do it too and is more fun.


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Offline fourstring

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 08:43:58 PM »
This will do it too and is more fun.


No-can-do.  Hardwood floors.   >:(
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Offline mxvet57

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 09:17:18 PM »
Home Depot is your friend.


Nate, need some help? I can be over in 10 minutes.
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Offline Mr. Whippy

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 09:23:27 PM »
Home Depot is your friend.


Nate, need some help? I can be over in 10 minutes.

In Maryland, I was told, "We're sold out.  For the season."  I bought online from Amazon with 2 day shipping.

Offline CLAY

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Online miles

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 11:50:50 PM »
Home Depot is your friend.


Nate, need some help? I can be over in 10 minutes.

In Maryland, I was told, "We're sold out.  For the season."  I bought online from Amazon with 2 day shipping.




I'm pretty sure none of the Home Depots here in San Diego have any in stock, either.
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Offline Veefer800canuck

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2014, 12:44:20 AM »
You want self regulating heat tape.

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/15-ft-electric-pipe-heating-cable/909328

Don't forget to insulate the line afterwards. Use an insulation that is rated for the heat.

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Offline JonS

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 06:10:40 AM »
In the house I shared with my ex, there was a place , above the ceiling that was a big problem for freezing. After I left, my ex had a guy put a heat strip there and the problem stopped.
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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 07:07:40 AM »
This will do it too and is more fun.


No-can-do.  Hardwood floors.   >:(


Torch the floors.  :shrug:

Offline fourstring

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 07:15:27 AM »

Home Depot is your friend.


Nate, need some help? I can be over in 10 minutes.

In Maryland, I was told, "We're sold out.  For the season."  I bought online from Amazon with 2 day shipping.


What really gets me is that I was AT Ace for something else, with one in my hand, off the clearance rack,  just three days ago.  :lol: 
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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 08:01:49 AM »
Yea, I have two pipes that do that. One for the cold water feed in the kitchen and one for the wet bar in the basement. The kitchen one is at the back wall and doesn't ever get sun. The wet bar in the wall next to the ground.

The problem is both are in the walls. I need to snag an electrician or plumber to get some ideas. Generally if it's getting around zero I leave the cabinet doors open and let the water trickle.

Carl
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Offline JeffM

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 12:29:08 PM »
Self regulating heat tape is good, as long as you have access to the full length of the pipe run. Note carefully that the thermostat which gets strapped to the pipe to activate the heat must be roughly at the coldest point on the pipe to be effective. I've used one for the past couple of years and not had any trouble. I made a note of the outdoor temp threshold which causes the pipe to freeze, and when it gets close to that I go down and plug in the heat tape (leaving it unplugged in warmer weather).
Also note that simply insulating a pipe which is in a col space will not prevent freezing, just delay it (considerably). Insulation is usually enough as the freeze-ups mostly happen at night, but if you're somewhere that stays cold for days at a time you may be best served trying to insulate the space that the pipe runs in to keep the whole area above freezing.

Online Skee

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2014, 05:52:52 PM »

The problem is both are in the walls. I need to snag an electrician or plumber to get some ideas. Generally if it's getting around zero I leave the cabinet doors open and let the water trickle.

Carl

Had a similar problem in my laundry room.  Using heat tape inside a wall may violate code.  I opened the wall up. There was some insulation, but it wasn't well done.  Wrapped high quality insulation around pipes.  Made sure the batting behind pipes was complete.  Put fiberglass sheets (thermal breaks - dont know what theyre called) between studs to close off all drafts.  In short, I insulated very thoroughly.  Closed up the wall. 

I also installed valves in basement in case I had to shut off pipes (without shutting off rest of loop) to laundry if they froze and burst.  It's been 10+ years and even in this most recent cold snap, pipes have never frozen since.   

Could have saved $100 bucks or so on those valves.   
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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2014, 06:07:10 PM »
Luckily none of ours have frozen.  The water coming out of them is in the 30's though.

I shut the main off if we go away.  Better safe than flooded.

Offline Veefer800canuck

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Re: Cures for frozen pipes
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2014, 09:12:29 PM »
In the house I shared with my ex, there was a place , above the ceiling that was a big problem for freezing. After I left, my ex had a guy put a heat strip there and the problem stopped.

And if you'd have just fixed the damn pipes, she probably would have kept ya.

Jus' sayin......


;-)
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