Author Topic: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?  (Read 3601 times)

Offline Dan_The_RN_Man

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Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« on: January 20, 2014, 10:42:29 AM »
I have tried everything. Let the water run, insulate the pipes, wrap with heat tape then insulate, nothing has been working this winter. We have a well and I was thinking that maybe if I ran all the faucets and then shut off the well pumps to drain the lines, would that help in stopping the water from freezing?  We just got water back today from being froze for a week and looking at the extended forecast I think we're gonna lose it again tonight. Anyone have any suggestions above what I've already tried?

Offline Cedar

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 10:47:04 AM »
Where is it freezing at? Can you locate the problem?

Check your wellhouse. For some silly reason, around here, the pipes go out the side of the wellhouses before going into the ground as people didnt go through the concrete floors. We lucked out as Z broke a pipe and we re-did the lines and put it 4-5' into the ground for the 310', and jackhammered the floor and brought it up through the floor.

Do you have a space heater in your wellhouse? Is it insulated?

Cedar

Offline Dan_The_RN_Man

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 11:00:03 AM »
There in lies the problem. The pump is in the basement of a dilapidated shed where you can see sunlight from the pump. I know that's part of the problem but it freezes in the house too. I have a space heater in the utility room where the pipes come into the house but even now that isn't cutting it. The landlord has been saying for years that he's gonna tear it down and rebuild but that hasn't happened. We're moving this summer regardless. Just trying to get through this winter.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 11:14:07 AM »
You can do a couple things.... depending...


1. Get a TON of free insulation off CraigList. If that looks like a fire hazard..
2. Build a box from "X" sheets of plywood. You might have to use 4 and then a 4x4' sheet for the top. Hinge at least 1 side. Pop it over the top of your pressure tank/pump and then put the space heater (or more likely a light bulb) in there to keep things warm.
3. I forgot to add earlier. If your house doesnt have very much insulation, pull all the drawers out of the kitchen and bathroom, leave all the cupboard doors open. It is a PITA, but in older houses this is how I had to keep pipes from freezing. The wall is not insulated and the drawers keep the inside heat from getting to the pipes.
4. Set a timer. Every hour, flush every toilet, run the shower,run every faucet for 5 minutes around the clock. Take shifts, although soon you can do it while you are sleepwalking.
5. Keep packing water from somewhere else.

Cedar

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 05:50:12 PM »
My dad had this problem in Oregon as well.  My quick fix for him was to use a can of spray foam around every exposed pipe that is outside.  Also around the hole where it goes out of the well house and into the home.  It's cheap enough that you can "fix" the majority of the problem, even on long runs of pipe.  Put it on thick, and don't be stingy with it.  It's a better choice that wrapping with towels (which get wet and then freeze) or thermal tape (which is marginally effective and expensive).

I'd follow Cedar's advice as well.  Hope this helps!

nelson96

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 06:04:57 PM »
My dad had this problem in Oregon as well.  My quick fix for him was to use a can of spray foam around every exposed pipe that is outside.  Also around the hole where it goes out of the well house and into the home.  It's cheap enough that you can "fix" the majority of the problem, even on long runs of pipe.  Put it on thick, and don't be stingy with it.  It's a better choice that wrapping with towels (which get wet and then freeze) or thermal tape (which is marginally effective and expensive).

That's a great idea Flippy.

I would also suggest installing valves to shut off problem zones.  Of course draining those zones is necessary and never leave a hose attached to a faucet.

A torpedo heater directed under the house is a great way for a quick thaw.  Running some kind of heater in the pump house works to thaw that area too.

It's pretty tough to find the problem areas unless you have zones to work with.  Thawing each one individually will tell you where your problems are and then you can concentrate on shoring up those weak points.

Offline Greekman

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2014, 12:57:55 AM »
How about foamy pipe insulation?
no one mentioned it

Offline never_retreat

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2014, 09:27:22 AM »
There in lies the problem. The pump is in the basement of a dilapidated shed where you can see sunlight from the pump. I know that's part of the problem but it freezes in the house too. I have a space heater in the utility room where the pipes come into the house but even now that isn't cutting it. The landlord has been saying for years that he's gonna tear it down and rebuild but that hasn't happened. We're moving this summer regardless. Just trying to get through this winter.
Can you cover the floor of the shed with hay bales? This should keep the basement warm from the ground if you can keep out the outside cold.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2014, 10:01:47 AM »
Orrrrrrrrrrrrr.. since you are moving, ignore the water, turn it off at the well, hope winter is over soon and pack water.

Cedar

Offline Dainty

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2014, 04:19:12 AM »
I haven't seen anyone suggest heat cable yet? If you have electricity out to there it seems that would be the simplest solution. Comes with a thermostat so that it's not on all the time, just flicks on when needed.

We had this issue with my airstream trailer, water hooked up to the house would freeze several times per winter, often even when leaving my faucets on. Tried all sorts of things year after year. Finally my dad bought some heat cable, and then taped insulating foam around the cable and hose together and I never had another issue with pipes freezing. No further need to think about it, worry about it, or do anything regardless of how cold the weather. Simple fix that made a pretty dramatic difference for me.


Offline Eagles mom

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Re: Any suggestions on getting pipes to stop freezing?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 11:33:43 PM »
Since you are renting, it is the landlord's responsibility to make sure the water is working properly. While it is commendable to take care of yourself, all of these solutions are costing you time and money for something that you've already paid for with your rent. I would give the landlord no rest until he/she had stepped up to solve the problem. You should also be able to agree to an adjustment in your rent.