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Old 01-01-2018, 07:41 PM   #1
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Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


I have a kitchen sink and a utility sink about 10' away using the same half inch hot water copper supply pipe. The kitchen sink is working normally but the utility sink hot water isn't so the problem appears to be a frozen section between the kitchen and the utility sink in the mudroom (on an outside wall)

This freeze has never happened in 40 years.

I spent several hours trying to thaw out the pipe with a hair dryer at the utility sink wall inlet and the basement below with no success.

My question is will the frozen pipe burst in the next few days with below freezing temperatures? Am thinking about removing the wall behind the utility sink to access the pipe risers and insulating them but hate to go through all that if the pipe will not probably burst. Can leaving the hot water valve open lessen the pipe from bursting?
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Old 01-01-2018, 07:57 PM   #2
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


Left to expand yes they will burst.
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:03 PM   #3
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


If it is frozen, chances are it already has burst.
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


A possible problem that can occur by leaving the valve open is un-equal pressure. If it has a ice blockage that thaws just enough for the pressure behind it to move the ice slug, it's possible all hell can break loose when the hydrate moves and hits an ell for example with 60 lbs. pressure behind it and 0 pressure on front of it.
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


Quote:
Originally Posted by provlima View Post
I have a kitchen sink and a utility sink about 10' away using the same half inch hot water copper supply pipe. The kitchen sink is working normally but the utility sink hot water isn't so the problem appears to be a frozen section between the kitchen and the utility sink in the mudroom (on an outside wall)

This freeze has never happened in 40 years.

I spent several hours trying to thaw out the pipe with a hair dryer at the utility sink wall inlet and the basement below with no success.

My question is will the frozen pipe burst in the next few days with below freezing temperatures? Am thinking about removing the wall behind the utility sink to access the pipe risers and insulating them but hate to go through all that if the pipe will not probably burst. Can leaving the hot water valve open lessen the pipe from bursting?
Closing hot water tank supply valve & depressurizing hot distribution piping ((by opening hot faucets that flow until they stop) is what is needed to prevent water damages until you either locate/thaw/fix frozen section...
what type of piping in house, copper?

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Old 01-01-2018, 08:33 PM   #6
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


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If it is frozen, chances are it already has burst.
Not necessarily. I had pipes to a mudroom in our old farmhouse that would freeze regularly over a couple of winters until I managed to re-insulate the wall permanently.

But they still could burst. If the source of cold air is widespread along the pipe then the plug of ice could be equally as large, but if it is just a small spot of pipe exposed to the cold then it could be just a single small plug of ice, and that's all it takes. If you are not able to access all of the potentially frozen pipe, then I would seriously consider shutting off the water to the utility sink. Hopefully you have shut-offs at the source sink. If not, seriously consider getting a compression-type shut-off and quickly shutting down the whole house so you can cut the line and install the shut-off.

You could also consider using a plumbing torch, so long as you are careful about not burning the house down. They put out more heat and the copper will carry it along. Don't overheat any one spot. You don't have to melt the ice, just dislodge it from the pipe. Make sure you remove the aerator from the utility sink tap to allow it to pass if it does dislodge.
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Old 01-01-2018, 11:01 PM   #7
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


Quote:
Originally Posted by DR P View Post
Closing hot water tank supply valve & depressurizing hot distribution piping ((by opening hot faucets that flow until they stop) is what is needed to prevent water damages until you either locate/thaw/fix frozen section...
what type of piping in house, copper?

Peace
Just got home to a frozen pipe. I've been trying to thaw with no luck for a few hours now. I don't have access to copper piping at all really.

I'm curious about this approach to depressurizing . I haven't seen it anywhere else. I'm trying to decide what to do for the night if I can't get it thawed.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:38 AM   #8
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


When I was a kid I saw a guy thaw about a 4 ft. length of outdoor exposed copper pipe with his car battery and a pair of jumper cables. Immediate heat. If I recall it took about 1.5 seconds to have flowing water then the flowing water took care of the remainder of the ice.
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:12 AM   #9
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


If they are going to break it is to late to worry about.
Cut the pipe and go up thru the floor with a new one.
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:56 AM   #10
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


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Originally Posted by mklein49 View Post
Just got home to a frozen pipe. I've been trying to thaw with no luck for a few hours now. I don't have access to copper piping at all really.

I'm curious about this approach to depressurizing . I haven't seen it anywhere else. I'm trying to decide what to do for the night if I can't get it thawed.
if problems on cold side also exists
you will have to turn off all water supply

these procedures wont solve problem but rather
only limits water damages once pipes thaw

how do you limit water damage inside a house?
turn the water flow off...

Peace
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:23 AM   #11
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


I have found pipes expanded significantly that did not burst, but I sure wouldn't want to leave them in place.

One, you need to locate the shutoff for that line in case you spot some water.

DR P has it correct, you need to shut off that line and THEN open the faucet. Open the wall and inspect the entire length. Position any of the old or new insulation between the pipes and the outside (cold) wall. No insulation between the pipes and the inside (warm) wall. Leaving the drywall off and exposing the pipe to the warm room would be best until you can take it all apart and fix it permanently.


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Old 01-02-2018, 07:28 AM   #12
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


Copper almost always bursts when frozen. Galvanized sometimes does not. 40 years old you might have either.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:29 AM   #13
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


We don't get to put pipes in outside walls, they all go up thru floor.
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:25 AM   #14
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


- its gonna get bad when (temps are freezing) colder in FLA & LA, than it is in Anchorage Alaska... just saying

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Old 01-02-2018, 08:28 AM   #15
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Re: Do all frozen pipes eventually burst if not thawed out??


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- its gonna get bad when (temps are freezing) colder in FLA & LA, than it is in Anchorage Alaska... just saying

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