Sunday, January 10, 2010

The pipes froze anyway


The good thing is that since I had at least shut off and drained part of the plumbing, the part that froze (in the big house's kitchen) didn't harm any of the pipes. Judicious application of space heaters has thawed some of the problem - but still no water to the carriage house yet.

I clearly should have wrapped these pipes with heat tape.


  1. Oh no! At least it's not as bad as it could be.

    I have a new neighbor and I bet the former owner of the condo didn't tell her she has the turn-off for the outside faucet inside her condo. I haven't been able to catch her (she lives down steps) and I haven't heard of any problems even though we're in the coldest winter for years, so I hope it's okay.

  2. Well, at 1 in the morning I gave up and went to bed, trusting the heaters to do the trick, and by 6:30 when we got up to get the kids ready for school, there was water. I got heat tape and pipe insulation today, just so I don't have to heat the whole kitchen with space heaters, but for now, the problem is solved.

    I knew there would be a problem if I left the floor in place (there's ventilation under the floor there, which I always found stupid) but having removed the floor, I thought the house would keep enough heat that there wouldn't be a problem. I didn't figure on being gone for two weeks (and thus not using water) during the coldest part of the year.

    Ah well. Draining the pipes probably saved me some plumbing, so I still get to be all self-congratulatory. But my wife was Not Amused.

  3. Hey, thawing pipes is about 300% better than having to find and replace leaks!

  4. This is true, in a way. But the psychological aspects differ - with frozen pipes, there is the implicit expectation that they should work, whereas with known-broken pipes, you are far better prepared to wait until they work.

    Also, when you fix a leak, it's fixed. But I hadn't really considered that with non-broken pipes, you can't see inside, thus can't see whether they contain water in liquid or solid form. Fortunately, CPVC is flexible enough that you can hear the ice when you move the pipe - so after realizing this, at least I knew where to put my space heaters.

  5. The water in my apartment didn't freeze, though the nighttime tempatures got down into the teens and oughts. Which is not to say I'm unscathed; I've been recovering from a bug that cropped up Saturday.