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Old 02-02-2011, 01:29 PM   #1
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Help! I think my pipes are frozen!


So it got down into the high teens last night, which is rare for central Texas, and I forgot to leave the faucets dripping. I woke up this morning, and the cold water is fine, but nothing comes out of the hot water tap. I shut off the main supply to the house, and drained all the taps, and I understand I'm now supposed to attempt to thaw the pipes. So my question is, *which* pipes, are where are they? My hot water heater is in the garage enclosed in a little closet, so I thought maybe I'd start with the water intake pipe. I've been heating that for a while with little effect, so now I'm wondering what to do next? Any suggestions?

FYI, the cold water taps work throughout the house *except* in our bathroom, which is on the top floor.


Last edited by kevind; 02-02-2011 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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Help! I think my pipes are frozen!


I suspect that the cold water supply line to your heater is frozen in the garage where it is exposed and probably your lines to your upstairs bath are in an outside wall.
Do NOT use any open flame (gas torch, etc.) to thaw frozen pipes.
Get a hair dryer and run it on High Heat and keep heating the cold water supply line to the water heater until it starts flowing. You may need to do the same for the hot water line coming out of it.
In the upstairs bath, open the vanity sink base doors and turn up the upstairs heat or use a portable space heater in the bathroom.
Try these first.
Good luck!
Mike

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Old 02-02-2011, 02:31 PM   #3
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Help! I think my pipes are frozen!


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Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen View Post
Get a hair dryer and run it on High Heat and keep heating the cold water supply line to the water heater until it starts flowing. You may need to do the same for the hot water line coming out of it.
In the upstairs bath, open the vanity sink base doors and turn up the upstairs heat or use a portable space heater in the bathroom.
Hi Mike, thanks for the help. I ran the hair dryer on both the hot water heater intake line and the hot water line (5 minutes each), but no luck. The water meter for my house is on the side of the garage, so I'm guessing it routes through the garage to get to the hot water heater. So at this point do I start tearing up sheet rock in the garage to try and find the frozen spot?
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:30 PM   #4
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Help! I think my pipes are frozen!


You were told correctly about don't using open flame anywhere. That being said when I had the same problem years ago in OK. I busted out the sheet-rock to find th elbow joints going to my hot water heater. Then I used a propane torch to defrost the line.
Not safe, but it worked for me.
Mike
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:36 PM   #5
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Help! I think my pipes are frozen!


Woohoo, success!! I found a vent on the back of the water heater closet that was more or less directly exposing both the intake and outflow pipes to the elements. Used the hair dryer and they unfroze in less than five minutes. And no internal leaks, so it looks like no bursts. Now I'm off to Home Depot to buy some pipe insulation.
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