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"Anyone here a plumber?" Topic

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1,085 hits since 10 Jan 2015
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Lone Gunman Games Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member10 Jan 2015 8:29 p.m. PST

Our water seems to have frozen up at the main entry line before the meter. I have had a hair dryer focused onto that pipe where it comes into the floor and blowing into the crawlspace for several hours now, but no success or sign of anything thawing out.

Is it possible that the water meter has failed instead and it is what is blocking the flow of water instead?

Tom Bryant10 Jan 2015 9:15 p.m. PST

Possible. A co-worker of mine had that happen to him last year. If I might suggest, go to your local big box home improvemnt store and pick up a heat lamp rig. They should be around $20 USD and would be better than the hair dryer. You may also want to contact the city as soon as possible on that.

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jan 2015 10:29 p.m. PST

The heat lamp rig would not do me much good without digging out the crawlspace. If I have to do that I might just as well break out the torch and heat the pipe by hand.

I was trying to avoid laying on the ground in the arctic freezing cold trying to get the water unfrozen.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2015 7:20 a.m. PST

Unfortunately, this may be above your pay grade. As soon as the pipes unfreeze you will probably have water everywhere(because when a pipe freezes it usually bursts at some point as ice expands). So you should first call the City and speck to someone in the Water Department and see if they advise shutting the water off at the main before it thaws. Then you are probably going to need to call a plumber $$$, unless you have the ability to repair it yourself.

Hopefully it will not be to serious or expensive.

Lone Gunman Games Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Jan 2015 11:20 a.m. PST

I ran the dryer for 11 hours yesterday and did not even get a trickle out of the water fawset so I assume there must be anyother problem somewhere. So far no signs of any gysers in the yard.

Ron W DuBray Inactive Member11 Jan 2015 2:13 p.m. PST

well first off: you need a heat gun or a torch to unfreeze pipes a heir dryer just does not have the BTU out put to over come the cold.

the other thing you could try seeing you can't get to the pips is get a work space heater and blast it into the crawl space ( like one of these) link

ArmymenRGreat Inactive Member11 Jan 2015 2:42 p.m. PST

Keep us posted. I've been shutting off the water and draining the kitchen every night, and I live in Virginia!

Ron W DuBray Inactive Member11 Jan 2015 6:34 p.m. PST

Something you should look into for the long term. Installing heat tape with thermostat control, and isolation over them.

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jan 2015 9:34 p.m. PST

Finally seeing a drip today in the bathroom, but it may not have been frozen where I thought it was. If its frozen where I think it is there is no way to get a heat tape on it without a total tear out.

Ron W DuBray Inactive Member12 Jan 2015 1:18 p.m. PST

It will more of a problem if the pipe breaks in that spot don't you think?

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jan 2015 2:44 p.m. PST

Silly me forgot there was an outside faucet right off the water meter, got very little out of it, so it has to be the main line. No sense in digging it out today its going to be -9F tonight, so it would probably just freeze back up again. May as well wait for the warm up and see what happens. We will either need a plumber or not.

zoneofcontrol13 Jan 2015 10:35 a.m. PST

A couple of suggestions:
#1 – Locally, our water meters are mandated to have a leak indicator of some type. Not a lot of help but it will tell you if water is going through the meter and leaking somewhere on the inside.

#2 – Our local water company will come out free of charge to check the meter. They can usually determine on the spot if it is functional. If not sure, they can pull it, take it back to the shop and have it tested. This carries a fee of $50 USD or $75 USD, I think.

#3 – I agree with the hair dryer not putting out enough heat to thaw a frozen pipe. I've used a small butane bottle with torch head in the past. Be careful not to burn down your house! (or yourself.) Also, be careful not to melt solder joints on pipe connections.

#4 – Once you do get things resolved, a heat tape with thermometer may be warm enough to help prevent a repeat. They are usually warm enough to prevent a freeze but like the hair dryer, not warm enough to remedy an already frozen pipe.

#5 Don't wait for a complete thaw. Water expands when frozen and could rupture pipes. Not as big a deal while the water is frozen but once thawed, you'll have an unwanted swimming pool under the house.

zoneofcontrol13 Jan 2015 10:38 a.m. PST

One more thing:
#6 – For the outside faucet: if you are having other work/repairs done, consider replacing the regular faucet with one that has a shut-off well inside the building. This may help avoid future problems if this is the culprit.

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Jan 2015 1:16 p.m. PST

Well now this is a real head scratcher. it was -11 here last night so no way anything could possibly thaw out, yet at 1AM the water came back on like someone had turned on a fire hose. No air in the pipes, or anything to even indicate it had been off for days.

Who knows where the problem was or if it was even frozen near the house at all.

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