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Old 01-03-2014, 10:22 AM   #1
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Hot water missing in half the house


I live in Toronto, where is it currently -20C (-4F), and it feels even colder with the wind chill. Not sure if that's a factor here.

This morning, I noticed that I had no hot water in half the house. In the upstairs bathroom, main floor laundry, and basement bathroom, specifically, I have no hot water. Not even a trickle. These three rooms are situated directly above each other.

Fifteen feet away, I have my main floor kitchen directly above my basement kitchen and basement laundry room - I have full hot water in these rooms.

Cold water is available everywhere at normal pressure.

Thinking that it might be an air lock, I disconnected my main floor laundry machine, and I connected the cold faucet directly to the hot faucet. I opened up the hot and then the cold to push back the air. I tried this four times, up to 30 seconds each time, and it had no noticeable result, except I could occasionally hear air from my second floor bathroom faucet when the hot water valve was opened there after each time I tried.

I'm not sure what types of pipes I have in the house. Everything was working fine last night. My basement is finished.

Any ideas? Thanks team.

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Old 01-03-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
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Hot water missing in half the house


Being how everything was working fine and it's currently -20 degrees right now at your location, i'm guessing you have a frozen hot water line somewhere that's feeding the areas you describe in your post. It may be something else, but a frozen pipe is the most logical explanation at this point. Stay tuned, others will be along shortly with more advice/ideas. Thanks.


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Old 01-03-2014, 11:17 AM   #3
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Hot water missing in half the house


Ayuh,... I agree, there's No doubt the hot water line is frozen,....

Quote:
I'm not sure what types of pipes I have in the house.
It's time to start Diggin' to see what's up,...
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:24 AM   #4
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Hot water missing in half the house


But it must be a frozen hot water line somewhere inside the house if half the house is working, right?

Also, why would a hot water line freeze before a cold water line? I would imagine the two lines run in parallel.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
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Hot water missing in half the house


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But it must be a frozen hot water line somewhere inside the house if half the house is working, right?

Also, why would a hot water line freeze before a cold water line? I would imagine the two lines run in parallel.
Could be a hot water line run in an outside wall that wasn't fully covered with insulation while the cold line was.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
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Hot water missing in half the house


Sounds like a pipe on an outside wall froze up. Someplace I have heard hot water lines freeze faster then cold. I am not sure if that is true or not.

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Old 01-03-2014, 12:13 PM   #7
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Hot water missing in half the house


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Originally Posted by TorontoMike View Post
This morning, I noticed that I had no hot water in half the house. In the upstairs bathroom, main floor laundry, and basement bathroom, specifically, I have no hot water. Not even a trickle. These three rooms are situated directly above each other.
Start by narrowing your search for a common hot water line that is feeding these areas you describe above. As others have suggested, maybe in an outside wall somewhere. That is more than likely where your freeze up is located. Warm up that pipe safely with a hair dryer, light bulb, or some heat tape. Just a thought.

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Also, why would a hot water line freeze before a cold water line? I would imagine the two lines run in parallel.
Without getting into the whole science of it, it is possible that under certain conditions hot water can freeze before cold water. You can google it when you have time. More than likely, one was probably insulated better than the other.

The main issue is, you want to find where it's frozen and get it thawed before it causes damage to the pipe and possibly your house.

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Old 01-03-2014, 12:31 PM   #8
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Hot water missing in half the house


I saw one that froze because the water line ran above fart fan pipe. There was no insulation and the cold air came in the vent pipe and froze the water line above it. When it was thaw there was a flood as pipe had split.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:56 PM   #9
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Hot water missing in half the house


I'm not home, but a plumber is there with my wife. Apparently he has a machine that passes electrical current through the pipes and will heat them up. The problem is that we apparently must have some plastic pipes somewhere (this is news to me!), because it's not working. Right now we cranked the thermostat for the whole house and we have a space heater blasting at area where the problem likely is.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:26 PM   #10
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Hot water missing in half the house


also of note is having insulation on the wrong side of the pipe. that effectively keeps the heat from the pipe and keeps the cold on it.

good luck. I remember in my old house when a discharge pipe for sump froze up. it was more time effective to cut that plastic pipe and clean it out than it was to wait for it to melt enough.
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:30 PM   #11
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Hot water missing in half the house


Would it be beneficial to pour very hot water into an open hot water faucet?
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:54 PM   #12
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Hot water missing in half the house


I remember living in older homes when it got this cold we were advised to keep the tap slightly open all night for a constant drip

Could be someone got up in the night and used the cold water, as in a flush, ?
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:57 PM   #13
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Hot water missing in half the house


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I remember living in older homes when it got this cold we were advised to keep the tap slightly open all night for a constant drip

Could be someone got up in the night and used the cold water, as in a flush, ?
Maybe. But we are having no problems with the cold water. Only a hot water line is frozen somewhere. Someone getting up in the middle of the night and running water would have probably helped!

In the future, we will definitely keep a tap open during cold nights! Right now, I just need to get the hot water flowing again.
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:03 PM   #14
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Hot water missing in half the house


Exactly... since the cold was used it didn't have a chance to freeze up.

You only need to keep it open a dribble. Good luck, warmer weather is coming
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:23 PM   #15
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Hot water missing in half the house


Good luck hope your pipe hasn't broken.

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