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Old 12-16-2008, 10:21 AM   #1
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Cold water not working. Is there an easy fix?


So we had a big freeze here in Denver where it went from about 60 degrees to -15 degrees in about 12 hours.

All of our pipes seemed to have done fine except for the cold water in one of our bathrooms. These pipes happen to be on an external wall, so my assumption is that the cold water pipe to this sink just froze.

So, is there anything I can do to clear that up and get the ice melted in there? The hot water is flowing fine but literally nothing comes out when I try to turn on the cold water.

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:12 AM   #2
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Cold water not working. Is there an easy fix?


Short term, you need to locate where the frozen blockage is, open the faucet and start heating the pipe where the blockage is. Check carefully for splits in the pipe or you might get a lot more water than desired when it thaws.

Long term, you need to either get more insulation between the pipes and the outside , get more interior airflow to the pipes or reroute the pipes away from the outside wall.

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:15 AM   #3
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Cold water not working. Is there an easy fix?


How can I locate where it is? Would it not be behind a wall where I don't have access?
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:38 AM   #4
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Cold water not working. Is there an easy fix?


Locating is the tough part. Your going to have to trace the piping path and figure it out through observation (look for split pipes, frosty areas, etc.), trial and error (see what pipes flow and what don't), common sense (check the coldest spots first). An IR temp gun can help you find where the pipe is below freezing. You can get them at an auto parts store for around $40 and they come in surprisingly handy for a lot of things.

Unfortunately, you might end up having to make access to some areas. Evaluate all areas with access first. Then carefully open up areas in a way that will cause the least damage and be the easiest to fix.

Start out by leaving the faucet open. If you get any flow at all, even a drip, it will likely eventually start flowing.

If not even a drip, leave the faucet open and apply a hair dryer to the pipe under the sink where it enters the wall. Leave it on there while you go about diagnosing the situation. Once you finally locate the most likely place for a blockage move the hair dryer to that area.

If you have copper pipe and a torch you can use the torch to warm the pipe but you must be very careful or you could burn down your house or loosen a soldered joint.

Other options to heat the pipe: heat tape and light bulbs.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:07 PM   #5
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Cold water not working. Is there an easy fix?


Okay...so I'm 90% sure I found the frozen area. I've narrowed it down to about a 2 foot junk that sure enough is in the wall right behind the sink.

Is there any way to effectively defrost that? I've put a small space heater in the area (about 12" away) to try to warm it up that way, but would love to hear some other ideas.
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