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bluecifer 12-15-2008 06:02 PM

No Cold Water at all - both cold and hot pipes are burning to the touch
This is an odd one for me - I have had issues with this set of pipes freezing in my house before - or at least I thought they were freezing. This year its different. This morning I went into my washroom and just about burnt my :censored: on my toilet. Hot water in the toilet? That's a new one. I shut of the valve and the heat dissipated - good. Now onto the real problem - no cold water at all. Hot water seems to flow sort of freely - the odd part is that when I opened the access panel to the pipes, both the cold and hot pipes feel extremely hot to the touch - as though I have no cold water running through the pipes at all. There is also absolutely no water coming out when I turn any cold taps. Water only flows when the hot taps are on. To clarify, the toilet isn't filling up quickly with hot water it's just sort of seeping in.

In past year I have run into trouble and have solved it by trying to force heat near the pipes and running the water until the blockage was removed - this hasn't seemed to have worked so far, and it happened in warmer temperature than the last freezings (still extremely cold here though, mind you - Winnipeg MB Canada).

Any thoughts? Could it be a valve that is finally given up the ghost? I can't come up with anything other than I think I know the general source of the blockage since the pipes work fine to a certain point and then are problematic from my second story bathtub to my third story bathroom - both of which share the same plumbing.

Any and all help is appreciated. :thumbsup:

joed 12-15-2008 06:17 PM

You have a frozen pipe somewhere bewteen where after where hot connection is and before where the other cold connections.

bluecifer 12-15-2008 06:55 PM

So essentially I should just try the forced heat method again and hope for the best? I hesitate to work on the pipes right now since they are located behind our only working tub and my wife would be lost without it and my time is limited. Sigh :/ Thanks for the info.

biggles 12-15-2008 07:13 PM

how is it in the spring/summer months up there with the water cold/hot.if the cold water doesn't exsist in the line when you open them both the hot water will flow over to the cold side and pressurize the line to the fixture toilet or the nearest cold faucets....your definitly ZERO'g out the cold side as to water and the hot water is seeking and filling all your cold water lines.......cold water feed is frozen bigtime along a wall in the house.keep in mind if the hot water has good pressure that is the cold water pressure to the hot water you have cold water pressure within the house.check the run on the cold water line from the hot water heater towards the first sink/toilet.solve one cold faucet and the others will work.might want to run a blow dry along the cold water pipe right off the HWH going into the house.try this fix...remove the shower head and CAP IT 2nd floor if you have one then open up the hot water there and set the shower for that capped the hot side for the shower and go to the furthest away cold faucet and open that up you should see hot water. work all the cold faucets something will start moving or let it sit for 10 minutes drain the cold fuacets,and redo the shower hot feed again.

bluecifer 12-15-2008 07:55 PM

I would say that's probably accurate - the place I suspect the frozen pipe to be is against a brick exterior wall - and cold water does work in other portions of the house so its not blocked at the source. The pipe is not tight against the wall and I thought it was insulated but not enough it would seem (I moved into this mess so at least I can feel good that its not my fault :) ). During the summer/spring things are fine, -20 C and things get kind of iffy - I think I'll have to leave my taps dripping just slightly until I can get around to ripping out the wall behind the bath to fix it all this summer.

Currently have a small hole in the interior wall with a heat lamp pointed in the direction of the pipes - we'll see if that does it. I'll let you know - thanks for your help.

AllanJ 12-15-2008 08:38 PM


Originally Posted by bluecifer (Post 198533)
Currently have a small hole in the interior wall with a heat lamp pointed in the direction of the pipes - we'll see if that does it. I'll let you know - thanks for your help.

Don't look now but it's going to take a very long time for the heat lamp to warm up a pipe in the wall and not in the direct rays of the lamp. Unless you can blow air past the warmed surface just inside of the hole using a hair dryer.

biggles 12-15-2008 08:41 PM

would be interesting if you left all the problem cold fausets open slightly till it melts..could be as simple as an elbow against a brick and with no water being used thats when your freezing.

bluecifer 12-16-2008 06:43 PM

So, it worked. Now I have issues with some shut off valves on my hot water heaters - SIGH. I suppose I'll have to drain everything and then with my luck the pipes will freeze again and the soldering will go badly and ... and ... :)

Thanks for the help all - I may be back soon!:eek:

biggles 12-17-2008 05:52 AM

we'll be here ......waiting:thumbup:

paperbagprincess 01-17-2009 07:59 PM

I'm having what sounds to be the exact same problem as bluecifer. What actually worked....capping the shower head or leaving the cold facets open slightly? How long did it actually take to thaw?

biggles 01-18-2009 05:28 AM

that was my suggestion on capping the shower head........this will allow you to send hot water over to the cold pipe(without it draining),and into the entire cold water feeds of all the sink/tub in the house let it all the cold fuacets and the heating of the pipes will defrost that restriction.

Chemist1961 01-18-2009 07:53 AM

Exactly the same.... `you could do what I did , move out of WINTERpeg!!!:thumbsup:Sorry bluecifer, but as great as the summers are, between mosquitoes and cold pipes and square tires, I couldnt resist

bluecifer 01-19-2009 10:29 AM

What eventually worked was blowing heat in the vicinity of the pipes (I can't get at them easily so I needed to cut a hole in the wall) and making sure that the bathroom door was on to catch all of the heat I could muster from the Rad. It took awhile - if you can see the pipe then getting heat from a hair dryer or a small block heater will probably work decently fast for you - my way usually takes up to a day and regardless of what I do after they always seem to refreeze pretty easily.

And can you believe I actually chose to move back to 'Winter'Peg? Family does weird things to you - I had a new well insulated house in Calgary that I left for a 112 year old better-than-most house in Winnipeg - what was I thinking? :laughing:

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