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Old 01-05-2010, 10:13 PM   #1
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Frozen A/C Pipe Advice


First time poster. I was wondering if someone could point me down the right path.

I just noticed (after looking in my drop ceiling), that one of the two pipes exiting my house to the A/C unit is frosted up. The exit out a GAPING hole in the cinder block.

I would guess one is the run (3/8" or 1/2" copper) and one is the return (covered with like 3 inch black foam insulation jacket)?

Anyway, there is an illegal exposed cable splice about 12 inches above this and now I am REALLY worried. My 10 month old's crib is directly above this.

What is in these pipes? Is this an immediate hazzard? Call the plumber? Call the electrian? Both?

Help!!!

Last edited by FirstAndTen; 01-05-2010 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:14 PM   #2
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And hello to all by the way!!! I thank you all in advance.

Here is a picture.

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Old 01-05-2010, 11:32 PM   #3
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Is it just an air conditioner?
Or is it a heat pump.
If a heat pump. you have a problem.

If just A/C. That happens because the liquid refrigerant is that cold. And is migrating between the outdoor unit and indoor unit.

If its causing a water drip. A little insulation will take care of it.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:13 AM   #4
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Just an air conditioner.

Not sure if this was clear, but the frost is due to the fact that it's -5 degress outside - not the refrigerant.

Could the pipe burst?

Could the frozen pipe or a burst pipe cause havoc with the illegal wire splice that is about 12 inches away (not in photo)?
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:32 AM   #5
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The wire splice I see is a ground splice. The pipes contain freon. You could try to put a trouble light near the frost to melt it and then insulate the pipe and fill in whatever gaps you have to the exterior.
Ron
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:41 AM   #6
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Thanks Ron!

The wire splice does not appear in the photo. It's above the pipes and is 14-2 black/white I think.

I am going to try to "thaw" the pipes using your method and then insulate. Do you think I'll be ok with the yellow DAP foam? (I know there are several kinds .. cracks, gaps, windows/doors, etc).
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstAndTen View Post
Thanks Ron!

The wire splice does not appear in the photo. It's above the pipes and is 14-2 black/white I think.

I am going to try to "thaw" the pipes using your method and then insulate. Do you think I'll be ok with the yellow DAP foam? (I know there are several kinds .. cracks, gaps, windows/doors, etc).
I would use the gap foam, which I think is fast expanding. But check the can to see if this application is temperature sensitive. If it is, I'd put fiberglass or cellulose into the gap.
I would I slide a pipe insulation sleeve over the frosted pipe before I filled the space with any type of insulation.
Ron
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for ideas and help.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:57 PM   #9
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The frost IS because of the refrigerant migrating between the indoor and outdoor section. Its somewhat common.

Everytime you heat runs. it pushes some refrigerant outside. Then when the heat stops running, the refrigerant pushes back in. And since it is -5, the moisture freezes around the pipe.

Its absorbing heat from the area you see it frozen at.
The refrigerant inside the pipe is still liquid, and will remain so.

There won't be any harm to the pipe.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:01 PM   #10
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Ahh.. I get it.

So then there shouldn't be any harm in using the "big gap filler" foam around the pipes after I insulate with pipe insulation?

The spliced cable is another issue completely.

Thanks for the explanation.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:10 PM   #11
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The splice should be left accessible.

Gap filler is fine. but the pipe should be thawed and dried first.
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