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need help keeping pipes from freezing

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Jan 12, 2014, 10:49 PM
need help keeping pipes from freezing
We have been in this house for about 6 years and each year either the bathroom or laundry room get frozen pipes. The piping looks like it is all between the dry wall and the roofing long the side of the house. Is there any way we can keep them from freezing? The Man of the house wants to get that heat tape stuff at the hardware store, but we can't get in the wall to put it on, so I don't think that will work. To put it on the pipes under the house...may not work if it is freezing in the walls. The drain in the laundry room has frozen before too, but was cured by running some salt down the drain. Any ideas? Thanks

So far we have not had any bursting pipes(as I knock on wood) but we are trying to prevent that from happening. The water just gets frozen and stops running. Usually gets noticed when we go to use the water and nothing happens.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: crafdragon,

Janet Smile

Rubberstamping makes the world more colorful!!
Jan 12, 2014, 11:09 PM
Do you know what the pipes are made of? Copper? Pex? Galvanized?

You are right in that there is no easy fix for pipes contained within an exterior wall. The best fix is to re-route the plumbing so that there is as little area exposed to the outside temperature as possible. But that involves a massive tear-out process - not practical.

Heat tape applied to metal plumbing, especially copper will warm the pipes beyond the section heated (up to a point depending on temperature). So if you could get heat tape on from above and below it would certainly help.

Pex plumbing can expand during freezing without breaking. If you have Pex then that is the reason you have not had any leaks despite the pipes freezing. There is not as much benefit to add heat tape to Pex as the heat will not conduct to hidden areas as it will with copper. Plus, since the Pex can expand, the heat tape is not needed.

The simple 'fix' is to let the faucets run with a trickle of flow during extreme cold periods. Much less chance of the flowing water freezing. Also, insulate any exposed pipes that you can get to.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,

Jan 14, 2014, 10:15 PM
Thank You Jaybee.
Some of the pipes are copper, some galvanized and I think some is plastic, the white stuff. PVC or something like that. The house was built by some stoned or ****ged up guy and there are so many weird things here- walls that are not straight, mismatched pipes, a well system that had issues so we replaced it...I mean we do love the house, just many things that we couldn't know till we lived here and experienced it. Our first house tho so we are willing to do what is needed and make things work Roll Eyes The neighbors told us about the guy who built it back in 1984. Thanks for the help, we will get something done, just not sure what yet. Weather is in the 40's during the day now so water is flowing no problem.

Janet Smile

Rubberstamping makes the world more colorful!!
Jan 15, 2014, 07:51 PM
insulation and heat..
cut a hole in the wall, install a heat register/ cover the hole
the register/grill will let in heated air from your living space into the unheated space around the pipe
if its under a cabinet, open the cabinet door to let in heated air

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Frodo,
Jan 15, 2014, 08:26 PM
I for one refuse all work involving heat tape. Knowing that installed properly it is a fine product. But if someone reworks it and I become {The last electrician} on that job the resulting screw up bounces back on me. Easy out, refuse to install. Wink

Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jan 31, 2014, 10:20 PM
Fredo... That drip has been going on for a while, when are you going to fix it...?
Sorry couldn't resist.
Feb 01, 2014, 06:08 AM
you know how it is...a mechanics car wont start, a electrictions lights flicker