Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Plumbing

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-16-2009, 08:15 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 410
Share |
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


Woke up to no water! I got the drains open and the space heaters going. We'll wait and see.

We have no HVAC in the basement, so it gets cold, in the mid 40s, but I guess the walls must be very cold. I noticed the pipes are running flush against the uninsulated concrete.

Our basement is finished, so right now we have very little access to anything. However I would like to make it a project to put access panels where it would be appropriate.

Wonder if it would be worth my effort to try to pull these pipes away from the wall, and put foam insulation on them, or even re-run the water lines and go through the center of the house.

Small house, we only have 3 hot, and 4 cold water connections upstairs. MOST of which are right above the utility room and the hot water heater in the basement.

In the long run I wanted to put in a tankless hot water heater, in which case, I have heard it is necessary (or helpful?) to increase the diameter of the water line anyway? Current water pipe O.D. is 0.63".

Thank you and have a warm day

pcampbell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 08:54 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 301
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


Concrete has an R-Value of 0.08/inch... that's right 0.08 so the typical 10" foundation has an R-Value of 0.8 and is about as good as a single pane of glass (which is R1). It often doesn't matter too much because it's buried in earth that's around 52F so basements typically don't go much below 45F.

The problem is walkout basements or basements with unusually large amounts of exposed concrete to the air. Mass of the concrete buffers so it's not like a day of freezing temps outside is likely going to freeze pipes but I can tell you personally I had a pipe against a walkout basement wall and on the 2nd day of 10F temps and below (unheated basement) the pipe burst. I then insulated just that one wall of my basement that was totally exposed to the elements and my basement temps went from around 37F to now lingering 48-52F. It was likely the biggest energy saving improvement I could've made cause now my main houses floor above also much warmer.

And, technically 1/2" pipe can run about 3 fixtures and 3/4" pipe can run 6. You want to keep the velocity of the water in the pipe below 8fps (with copper) otherwise the water flows at such velocity through the pipe it rapidly wears out. If you have pex, I don't know.

I'm personally not a fan of the tankless water heaters, or tanked water heaters with the burner/flue in the middle. I had an oil tankless heater and after switching to a tanked system my energy bill went way down. The water heaters with the flue in the middle, they are very efficient at transferring the energy into the water but that also means they're very efficient at transferring the energy out of the water and into the flue when it's not running. That flue is uninsulated and runs through the middle of your tank... cools things right down when not running (and I've seen ones that have the flue open on the top so it's always sucking air to the outside).

Anyway, I like tanked systems with the tank seperate from the boiler. They're completely sealed, have almost no loss, don't have a flue running through them, and always have hot water ready when you need them.


Last edited by Piedmont; 01-16-2009 at 09:16 AM.
Piedmont is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 10:34 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 410
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


So uh... I guess I should be dealing with the present issue first:

Is it possible that the cold water line from the city is frozen under the ground

I really can't tell where the cold is frozen. I've been pointing a space heater at where the water comes in, as well as in our utility room, have all of the space heaters on in the basement, and still nothing. It's been about 3+ hours.

I have a finished basement, so have very limited access to pipes

Should I open the pressure relief valve on the hot water tank, and run the hot water to see if A) the hot water lines are "open" and B) if running hot water through those lines, possibly next to the cold water lines thaws the cold lines out? EDIT - I guess the water out of the hot won't flow upstairs without city water pressure......?

what next?

Last edited by pcampbell; 01-16-2009 at 10:50 AM.
pcampbell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 10:49 AM   #4
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Beech Grove, IN (suburb of Indianapolis)
Posts: 13
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by pcampbell View Post
Woke up to no water! I got the drains open and the space heaters going.

I am able to run water out of every faucet except for the hot water in my kitchen sink. Any reason why only one line would freeze? I too have heaters going but so far no luck.

We have no HVAC in the basement, so it gets cold, in the mid 40s, but I guess the walls must be very cold. I noticed the pipes are running flush against the uninsulated concrete.

I have the same "setup", but my basement is warmer than that, mainly because of steam pipes from the boiler are exposed and provides some warmth.
Sorry to partially hijack your thread with a lesser problem, but I'm wondering if it could be something besides a frozen pipe since only one (hot) water source in the whole house isn't working.
Frank_N_Stein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 11:02 AM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 410
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


just started happening today and its real real cold outside???
pcampbell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 12:56 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 301
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


It's very unlikely the main would freeze under ground. The very cold weather recently will not do much for increasing the chance of the main freezing as it's usually 5+ feet under ground, a quick cold snap does not penetrate 5+ feet of earth in a day, you would likely need a cold snap that lasted weeks.

But, not to say it can't happen. What's your frostline compared to how deep is the line coming to your house, and do you have snow on the ground (snow insulates the ground)?

Last edited by Piedmont; 01-16-2009 at 01:00 PM.
Piedmont is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 01:11 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 410
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


We are back.... Not sure if it is related, but I had the space heater pointed right at where the main pipe comes in. The pipe is probably 4 feet underground.

Going to see what I can do as far as getting these pipes covered.

Last edited by pcampbell; 01-16-2009 at 01:29 PM.
pcampbell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 04:31 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 410
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


So why do you dislike tankless water heaters? Two things I'd love to accomplish is a) reduce bills for heating hot water and b) get rid of my chimney (the last thing using the masonry chimney is our standard tanked water heater) The chimney is taking up a bit of room in our 1st floor ( that could be a closet ) as well as our attic that we'd like to finish eventually. Tankless seems like the way to go. In terms of fixtures, for hot water we have the kitchen sink, shower upstairs and bathroom sink upstairs. Downstairs we have another full bath, laundry, and utility sink. We do not ever ever any pressure or volume issues but never shower at the same time.

Our house is on a hill, and as we move towards the left side of the house the concrete goes from 95% underground to maybe 5% under ground. The side that is most above ground faces the garage, and of course all of this is finished, and hidden behind a built in unit, so nothing is easy to insulate Assuming we don't attempt to insulate the garage... which is small enough as it is!!

We are planning on sticking a Rinnai 22,000 BTU heater in the basement, but that is another story. It may help the pipes out but not sure it is the real solution to pipes running flush against cold concrete walls.
pcampbell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 06:25 PM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


So, pcampbell has water back, but I still don't. Do you mind if post I my problem in your thread?

Our pipes froze yesterday morning. It was not unexpected, because we live in an old farmhouse with an uninsulated hand dug foundation underneath the oldest section, which happens to be where most of the plumbing is.

The line from our well is 1 1/4 (or 1 1/2, not sure) poly pipe, and feeds directly into our pressure tank on a metal T assembly with the pressure control valve and pressure gauge built in. That feeds another T, to which is connected the line which feeds the rest of the house, and also a simple outlet tap.

The tank pressure gauge reads 95(psi I'm assuming) and if you open the outlet tap it spews water everywhere for a few seconds and then dies, with the tank pressure remaining constant.

Also, there is a valve that shuts off the pressure tank and well from the rest of the house, and when I turn that off, no water comes out the outlet tap. Also Also, the sinks and bathtub only seem to work - with limited pressure and only for a short while - when the outlet tap is open (huh?)

All of this to me spells that the line is frozen in between the tank, and the outlet valve. But, that is a 8inch long piece of 1 1/2 diameter steel(?) pipe that I've had a space heater blowing on all day. Could the pressure gauge be shot and the pipe simply frozen underground?

I know this is very confusing, if it would help I could do up a diagram. Also, it might be helpful to know that we are running four sinks, one bathtub, and a washing machine. We have an electric water tank.

I would appreciate any insights. Thanks

-Spongeloaf

Last edited by Spongeloaf; 01-16-2009 at 06:28 PM. Reason: clarification
Spongeloaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 06:28 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: north east
Posts: 728
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


minor point, but I believe its better when warming up a frozen pipe to start near the faucet and work backwards, thus you will give the melted water a place to go, namely the faucet.
__________________
LIVING THE DREAM
DUDE! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 06:34 PM   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by DUDE! View Post
minor point, but I believe its better when warming up a frozen pipe to start near the faucet and work backwards, thus you will give the melted water a place to go, namely the faucet.
We can get water out of the facets if we fiddle with the outlet valve, which is odd because it is no more than an out door hose facet stuck to a T connector next to the tank. I just don't know.
Spongeloaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 06:46 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: north east
Posts: 728
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


sponge, I'm sorry I was posting as you were and did not see yours. I"m not sure on your situation, 95 lbs seems way too much but I'm no plumber, hopefully one will help out here. I was trying to say that when warming up the frozen pipes, its best to start near an open faucet and work backwards to give the melted water relief to exit the pipe.
__________________
LIVING THE DREAM
DUDE! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 06:49 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by DUDE! View Post
sponge, I'm sorry I was posting as you were and did not see yours. I"m not sure on your situation, 95 lbs seems way too much but I'm no plumber, hopefully one will help out here. I was trying to say that when warming up the frozen pipes, its best to start near an open faucet and work backwards to give the melted water relief to exit the pipe.
Not a problem.

I don't know about the pressure either. All I can say is that when we can coax water to come out, it is NOT coming with any kind of speed pressure that would be considered "fast or "normal"
Spongeloaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 07:06 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: north east
Posts: 728
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


I've course I don't know if the pipe is frozen or not, if it is, getting some water is a good sign. Did you have this problem before the cold spell? If not then you are probably on the right track. When my pipe would freeze, I open the faucet at sink, take the araetor off, I'd mostly use a hair dryer, warm the pipe up an work toward the pump. New a guy used to use a light bulb running next to his pump to keep it from freezing., I'm just not sure why your pressure seems high, do you know what the pressure is normally at?
__________________
LIVING THE DREAM
DUDE! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2009, 11:45 PM   #15
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,787
Default

Haha - looks like the day of frozen pipes questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by pcampbell View Post
Woke up to no water! I got the drains open and the space heaters going. We'll wait and see.

We have no HVAC in the basement, so it gets cold, in the mid 40s, but I guess the walls must be very cold. I noticed the pipes are running flush against the uninsulated concrete.

Our basement is finished, so right now we have very little access to anything. However I would like to make it a project to put access panels where it would be appropriate.

Wonder if it would be worth my effort to try to pull these pipes away from the wall, and put foam insulation on them, or even re-run the water lines and go through the center of the house.

Small house, we only have 3 hot, and 4 cold water connections upstairs. MOST of which are right above the utility room and the hot water heater in the basement.

In the long run I wanted to put in a tankless hot water heater, in which case, I have heard it is necessary (or helpful?) to increase the diameter of the water line anyway? Current water pipe O.D. is 0.63".

Thank you and have a warm day
Your first priority is probably to get some heat down there.

Given that, I heard that it's a good idea to have your faucets at a drip if your pipes tend to freeze.

Also, they sell electrical heat tape that secures onto copper pipes that provide heat since they are plugged into an outlet.


Last edited by handy man88; 01-16-2009 at 11:50 PM.
handy man88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Drain Pipes, Walls and Studs mattaparity Plumbing 2 12-18-2011 07:22 AM
Frozen Pipes? Plugged pipes? brokenhammer Plumbing 7 01-15-2009 11:10 PM
frozen pipes helper Plumbing 3 03-23-2008 12:35 PM
"presumed" frozen water pipes mikeinKy Plumbing 23 01-26-2008 11:32 AM
Assistance to Prevent frozen Pipes in an overhang/candlever PLEASE nitro4you Plumbing 3 11-14-2006 08:41 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.