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Frozen pipes!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've been watching it at night, to make sure they didn't freeze, but it didn't even occur to me that they would freeze during the day while I was gone! It's three AM, and I've been cleaning, my house was horrible, and I just kept thinking the landlord would have to come in my house tomarrow . LOL, it really was bad. I have it acceptable now, enough so I can go to bed at least. Cats and dogs are drinking melted snow, I found a frozen gallon of water in my trunk for myself.

Are they going to be able to get them thawed out? Somehow? I've never had to deal with this. Last year didn't get cold at all, and before that, I was living with my parents, they dealt with that! Not much chance of them thawing on their own, I checked the forecast and tomarrow the high is 10, low is -6. It's 8 degrees right now. It's supposed to be up to 36 wednesday. Is there anything I can do? I'm going to go grab the apartment manager tomarrow and see if he can do something. I remember a couple times when I was little and the kitchen pipes would freeze, but not the bathroom. My mom would boil water from the bathroom and pour it down the kitchen sink. But I don't recall whether it worked or not. I'm thinking she just did it because she didn't know what else to do about it.

post #2 of 9
The one really important thing to do is to open the taps. That way, there is room for the frozen water to expand. You don't want the pipes to burst, frozen pipes are a pain, burst pipes require major construction.

I remember many occasions when the plumber would come to our house and wrap insulation and hot wires around the pipes, the kind of wire they use on the roof to melt snow. Our pipes froze at least once a year, and we only had burst pipes twice (that I can remember).
post #3 of 9
Get your landlord over there right away. I would assume that he/she is responsible for this problem.

It sounds like your water lines burst rather than just froze?? Depending on where the freeze is, you can:

1) Open all cabinet doors around your sinks to let the heat in (remove all poisonous stuff you might have so the cats don't get into them)
2) Use a hair dryer to warm the pipes where they are frozen (don't use a space heater - they can catch fire)
3) Open up the valves on the faucets (you will know when they unfreeze when the water comes on and gives a little bit more air to the pipes)

They do have electrical heat wraps you can use on pipes, but every reputable plumber that I talked to about this always says to use them with caution - never leave them plugged in for long periods of time as they are a fire hazard.

Once thawed, have your landlord wrap the pipes in insulating foam. They usually sell this at most home improvement stores, but if your area was hit hard, those will sell out quickly.

I have a 100 year old house with most of the plumbing in the crawl space under the house. I had to replace all my drain pipes this year as those froze when it went below about 5 degrees (I had all the traps moved into the house and removed the traps in the crawl space). The main water line into my house is usually the only water line that freezes and I do have electrical wrap on that - only use it to thaw them and it takes about 1 hour from the time I plug it in until it thaws. If I leave a few faucets trickling when it gets really cold, the main line doesn't freeze.

Good luck! I know how frustrating this can be!!
post #4 of 9
Oh memories! I remember when we were in alaska how our pipes froze several times and we were prepared for it too (or so we thought) You need to let your landlord deal with this, anything you do if you do it wrong, you will be liable for the damage caused. For now, open all the taps so it will relieve the pressure. If you know where the freeze is, THEN you can use the hair dryer. The freeze could be anywhere, and again it is up to your landlord or super to deal with it! Please don't mess with this it could lead to a lot of trouble for you if you something wrong. Plus it depends on what the pipes are made of- Also pouring boiling water down the pipes won't work, it isn't the drain that is being affected, it is the incoming water.
post #5 of 9
We had frozen water constantly! I mean here right now, it's -30 C, and a friend just told me that it is -22 F, so it's cold out! I mean this is generally January temps anyways, but usually we have a build up to what's supposed to be normal. December was really above normal, and January is normal. Our water froze all the time. Now we have heat tape, and a light bulb on usually throughout the winter just so it doesn't freeze. It's in a little box under the trailer. Don't know if this will help anyone or not....

Good luck with your water everyone!
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone

I have water. I went over there first thing this morning (manager lives 2 houses down). He got a heater under there. It took a while, but when it finally unfroze, water was pouring out all of my faucets at once. Kind of a drastic change there!

2 of my cats found the fish tank to drink out of, but the third just kept looking and looking for water (ran out of "clean" snow to melt). I had to pick her up and put her on my desk and show her that she could drink out of it

This house is small (more like a cabin), and the cats had pushed the board away from in front of the crawl space, so it was getting cold air right to the pipes.

But all is fine now, and I will keep water running so long as there is any chance of it freezing.

post #7 of 9
I'm glad things have worked out. As a tenant, obviously there aren't too many things you can do, but your landlord should have to see to certain things. Pipes should be insulated - they can be wrapped in insulation, or encased in foam-rubber. If it is particularly cold, you should leave the heat on when you are away from home, and leave inside doors open so that the warmth can circulate. Your cats will appreciate that, too.
post #8 of 9
Also if more cold weather is on the way start stockpiling water for the cats. use old milk or juice jugs or just start filling up buckets just in case.
post #9 of 9
In a pinch, wrapping the pipes in several layers of newspaper, secured with duct tape, makes god insulation. We used this, when living in a mobile home, to keep the water line from freezing and bursting.
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