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Flippant
So Much For Subtlety
Premium,Ex-Mod 2000-13
join:2000-06-04
Katy, TX

1 edit

Frozen Pipes No Running water anywhere. Theoretical

We had a hard freeze last night that is about 36 hours of below freezing temps. I do not have any history for this house as we have not yet been here for 2 years.

There is no flowing water anywhere in the house or outside taps. The main tap is at the curb and appears to be about 4 inches below the surface. The temperatures outside are just about to reach freezing and we are expecting highs today about 40F. Temps going down to 21 again tonight.

I did nothing special to prepare for this as my other two residencies in nearby communities I never had this problem at lower temps. I now realize I need to be careful in the future. Plan to keep vigilant looking for leaks until we have running water again.

So any suggestions as what we should do next? Should I close the main? If I do how will I know what to do next? How long until I can expect thawing?

edit. All is fine now.



rfhar
The World Sport, Played In Every Country
Premium
join:2001-03-26
Buicktown,Mi
Reviews:
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1 edit

Re: Frozen Pipes No Running water anywhere.

I would leave a faucet open so as to know when it thaws.
And when it thaws open all the fau cets until you have normal flow. Meanwhile you can look for leaks. Assuming that your house has been normal temperatures and since all flfow has stopped wouldn't the blockage be most likely outside or at the entry point to you house.



Flippant
So Much For Subtlety
Premium,Ex-Mod 2000-13
join:2000-06-04
Katy, TX

Thanks. The faucet closest to where I am sitting is open it is also the closest to where the pipes come into the house. Two toilet bowls need to fill and we can hear both from where we are.



The Pig
I know you want to be me
Premium
join:2009-09-11
reply to Flippant

If you can get to your pipes, try warming them up with a hair dryer. Pray your hot water heater isn't frozen, it'll take forever to unfreeze it.



Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
reply to Flippant

In the future when you have cold temperatures keep a faucet open slightly. This will keep a flow through the underground pipes and help prevent them from freezing.


RX300

join:2004-02-23
Bluff Dale, TX
reply to Flippant

Where is it most likely frozen? Water meter? If pier and beam, under the house?



Flippant
So Much For Subtlety
Premium,Ex-Mod 2000-13
join:2000-06-04
Katy, TX
reply to Flippant

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

This is now a theoretical problem now.

The water has returned at full pressure throughout the house. have done a complete walk through and everything is as it should be. Hot water is its usual near scalding hot. Water had a bit of rust color but not unexpected.

We are just getting to 32F so I am sure this was a community wide problem and nothing to do with our house.

Thanks again, and if the question is new please continue to discuss. I for one would still like some pointers should this happen again.



fatness
subtle
Premium,ex-mod 01-13
join:2000-11-17
fishing
kudos:14

1 recommendation

The first thing to do when you're without water is check with neighbors, to see if they are also.
--
"I cannot teach him. The boy has no pants."



Pacrat
Old and Cranky
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join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
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That was kinda my thought, too. The "rust color" in the water may have been an indication of a broken main somewhere nearby, rather than frozen pipes within the house. Usually piping within the house do not freeze all that quickly when the weather turns cold. It usually takes several continuous days of below freezing weather to freeze pipes. And one day of sub-freezing temps are generally is not enough to freeze pipes buried in soil. If the ground isn't frozen solid, neither are the pipes in it. What is possible though, is that thermal movement can and often does have a tendency to cause water mains to crack or burst. It seems, around here anyway, that we rarely have water probleems when the weather is nice and warm. But after a few days of a good cold snap, it's not unusual at all to see the city crews out repairing water lines. One of the first things we inevitably do, if we lose a utility, is check to see if any of the immediate neighbors has the same problem.
--
Sometimes I think it's a shame... When I get feelin' better when I'm feelin' no pain



nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to Flippant

Re: Frozen Pipes No Running water anywhere. Theoretical


The main tap is at the curb and appears to be about 4 inches below the surface.

LMAO at you Texans getting cold.

The ground here is frozen solid at least 12" down right now.
Fortunately the water line is at 40".

I especially like the Floridiots who's water lines enter above grade. I'll bet plumbers down there are making a killing right now.
--
Looks like Reverend Wright got his wish - God Damn America.
Nancy Pelosi - House Minority Leader 2010
Harry Reid - Senate Minority Leader 2010

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

1 edit

I had a friend in New Orleans who had a house with an above-ground water pipe. It went in the house like our gas lines do here. What really scared me were the natural gas heaters in every room with open flames.

For the OP: This sounds like a broken water main in your area, not frozen pipes. Call your water company and ask if they had a problem in your area.



Frankg0

join:2005-03-09
Loudoun, VA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
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reply to Flippant

Happened to us about 5 years ago. Below ground meter was frozen. Water compant employee came out and thawed it out for me. Took about 10 seconds. No charge they had many people call. We had a bad cold spell for a few days. Since then I plan ahead if it will be that cold for that long. As suggested above just one faucet with a slight trickle overnight.
--
2nd Ammendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.



beck
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join:2002-01-29
On The Road
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reply to Flippant

The water pressure in Aldine is very low this morning. Friend next door left his water running all night and it stopped. I filled my fresh water tank and disconnected from the main water. I was thinking it would get better pressure as time went along today, but at almost 1 pm, it's still the same.
--
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for much.
But they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.



Flippant
So Much For Subtlety
Premium,Ex-Mod 2000-13
join:2000-06-04
Katy, TX
reply to Flippant

I am from Colorado and installed lawn irrigation sys damnit sprinkler systems one summer. Often the worst job was digging for the "the tap" which was 6 feet down. Yeah I laughed when I saw the water connections when I moved in.

I do not know why I was so pessimistic when I found the water off this morning. Any other time I would have assumed it was a city problem but in a new house I just had a bad idea what was coming and for some reason just assumed it was on my property. Yes next time I will go bang on a few doors first.



manfmmd
Premium
join:2003-01-14
Earth, TX
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

reply to Flippant

[OT]

We just discovered our neighbors house has water running out of his eaves. He was away and we shut his water off and drained his lines.. (we're in the Houston area too)

This is probably a good time (well before now) to get your neighbors contact numbers for situations like this..

[/OT]
--
"The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan



jchambers28

join:2007-05-12
Alma, AR
reply to Flippant

people in my town are having the same problem here. people are having frozen pipes all over town.



The Pig
I know you want to be me
Premium
join:2009-09-11

1 edit
reply to Flippant

Double or triple the insulation before you have bigger problems.
And make sure there is a load of insulation in your waterbox



keyboard5684
Sam

join:2001-08-01
Pittsburgh, PA
reply to Flippant

In those areas it is not uncommon to even lay PVC on the ground say under mobile homes or other installs. In the Houston area I have seen the pipes barely under the ground.

One tip is when it gets that cold, leave the water running just a little. A drizzle, almost a drip, will help keep them from freezing. While it wastes water, it also may save you from more expensive breaks.

I would say another cheap route is to use heat tape. You basically wrap the outdoor pipes with the heat tape and only power it on when the conditions get this cold... which is rare.

Of course the best option would be to have people bury the pipes well under ground. Here, our water pipe is 6 feet under ground and comes in at the bottom of the basement. Of course it has been in the teens for probably a month now which is not unusual.


older dog
Premium
join:2005-06-09
reply to Flippant

I would leave a small stream running and not a drip if your sewage pipe is in a location where it could also freeze.

Finding your tub and toilet overflowing the flowing morning can make for a real bad day.

A drain is less likely to freeze than a small pipe but it does happen if it is in an unprotected location for too long.



i1me2ao
Premium
join:2001-03-03
TEXAS
reply to Flippant

or your pipes covered in the attic? i found mine thursday night and they run above the rafters. i found some left over insulation and covered them. even last night it got to 33 in the attic.. i am about 1 hour south east of you..
--
calling a illegal alien undocumented is like calling a drug dealer a undocumented pharmacist



Mashiki
Balking The Enemy's Plans

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Woodstock, ON
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reply to keyboard5684

said by keyboard5684:

One tip is when it gets that cold, leave the water running just a little. A drizzle, almost a drip, will help keep them from freezing. While it wastes water, it also may save you from more expensive breaks.
A drip won't stop a freeze, you need to have a steady stream. And the colder it is the more water you need to have flowing through the pipe. Even then you have a chance of a flash-freeze and break occurring on the outside of the pipe. Can't tell you how much I hate plastic pipe. You should be turning off your hot water tank's main flow, and turning off the power to it if it's inside. It doesn't hurt as well if you live in an area that doesn't normally have freezes to check every couple of hours to see if the water has changed color too, so you can make a note incase you need to file for insurance repairs.

We don't get much weather below -30C here, but I did spend a few winters futher up north where it got to -50C, this is bread and butter stuff you get to live with. That and heat wrap and insulation on pipping.


Flippant
So Much For Subtlety
Premium,Ex-Mod 2000-13
join:2000-06-04
Katy, TX
reply to Flippant

I have done a tour of all pipes in hazardous areas now. All outdoor pipes are wrapped well. The attic pipes are covered in insulation and does not feel as cold as outside. I have also found we have no faucets on outside walls which seems like a good design now. Except of course the three outdoor spigots. They are all close to the brick so nothing external to wrap. Really this house is better designed than the last house I lived in.



DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
reply to Flippant

Pipes running through the attic? Mains 4" below ground? Yikes! My main is a good 5 feet below ground level and pipes are never found in an attic! All inside and all insulated. The outside faucets are "no freeze" (inside shutoff with runback drain into the house). Amazing!
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


bastone0

join:2004-08-29
reply to nunya

said by nunya:


....
I especially like the Floridiots who's water lines enter above grade. I'll bet plumbers down there are making a killing right now.
that's for sure ))


Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

I especially like the Floridiots who's water lines enter above grade. I'll bet plumbers down there are making a killing right now.
Yes they are. And spent almost an hour scratching my head staring at the upside down "U" in our yard when we first moved here. I still can't figure out what idiot thought it would be a good idea to mount an above ground (2 feet above ground) "backflow" in everyone's front yard. Freezing aside, it's just stupid.
--
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shdesigns
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Stone Mountain, GA
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reply to Flippant

said by Flippant:

I have also found we have no faucets on outside walls which seems like a good design now. Except of course the three outdoor spigots. They are all close to the brick so nothing external to wrap.
you can get plastic covers that hook on the faucet. I have one for the one between by two garage doors. That is the only one that froze.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
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Jared
Wheee... ?

join:2007-01-28
Abbeville, LA
reply to Flippant

Yeah, we're having the same problem here in Louisiana.. along the coast as well! It's been getting below freezing the past 4-5 days (not sure) at around 18-30 degrees for several hours, or all day.

So far, our pipes froze last night on one end of our house completely.. even with the water running. Our lines are under the house, run right along the underside of the house (our house is lifted, so all the bottom is exposed), and are not insulted. Bad idea, huh?

See, we weren't expecting such a tight freeze, so we didn't have time to really cover everything. Though, the line coming from the main is under ground. That's one good thing, I guess.

Ack!



bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to DKS

said by DKS:

Pipes running through the attic? Mains 4" below ground? Yikes! My main is a good 5 feet below ground level and pipes are never found in an attic! All inside and all insulated. The outside faucets are "no freeze" (inside shutoff with runback drain into the house). Amazing!
Some of us live in places where it doesn't freeze. I would be surprised if my main is more than a couple of feet below the surface. Heck, my house doesn't even have insulation.
--
bobrk

bastone0

join:2004-08-29
reply to Flippant

welcome to global err warming


cmaenginsb1
Premium
join:2001-03-19
Palmdale, CA
reply to nunya

said by nunya:


The main tap is at the curb and appears to be about 4 inches below the surface.

LMAO at you Texans getting cold.

The ground here is frozen solid at least 12" down right now.
Fortunately the water line is at 40".

I especially like the Floridiots who's water lines enter above grade. I'll bet plumbers down there are making a killing right now.
Most of the new tract homes here in CA also enter above grade. Areas where I live get a freeze hard enough to plug that 4' section but not cause damage. After wrapping the pipes, i never had that problem again.
--
CCNA, Comtrain Certified Tower Climber