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kairo
December 9th, 2009, 06:01 PM
Somewhere between last night and 2:00 this afternoon, the hot water pipe froze somewhere along the garage. Any miracle cures or suggestions? It hides conveniently behind drywall from one end of the garage to the other where it pops out into the hot water heater. Water heater is working fine, I checked the main coming in to the house and I've got cold water, so there's no problems there.
Is there something I should be doing at this point besides heating the garage and keeping the water trickling?

Gizmatical Fuquad
December 9th, 2009, 06:30 PM
Somewhere between last night and 2:00 this afternoon, the hot water pipe froze somewhere along the garage. Any miracle cures or suggestions? It hides conveniently behind drywall from one end of the garage to the other where it pops out into the hot water heater. Water heater is working fine, I checked the main coming in to the house and I've got cold water, so there's no problems there.
Is there something I should be doing at this point besides heating the garage and keeping the water trickling?

Keep a bathroom faucet or some other fixture running at the farthest location from the water heater.

Interesting note that seems to defy logic, but the hot water lines tend to freeze before the cold water lines.
I have been a plumber for about 25 years and have encountered this more times than I can count.

kairo
December 9th, 2009, 07:04 PM
Keep a bathroom faucet or some other fixture running at the farthest location from the water heater.

Interesting note that seems to defy logic, but the hot water lines tend to freeze before the cold water lines.
I have been a plumber for about 25 years and have encountered this more times than I can count.

smaller diameter line is the only thing I can figure?

Mark O
December 9th, 2009, 07:24 PM
I remember talking about this before. I think it has to do with the fact that when water is heated the dissolved oxygen is released thus making it easier for ice crystals to form. The cold water still has this dissolved oxygen and it acts as an insulator. That is just what I heard sometime, somewhere, probably in school or something.

DirtyChemist
December 10th, 2009, 03:19 AM
the hot water lines tend to freeze before the cold water lines.

It's because Hot water actually freezes faster than cold water.

kairo
December 10th, 2009, 08:47 AM
any other thoughts before I start cutting out drywall this afternoon in the garage?

Gizmatical Fuquad
December 10th, 2009, 09:39 AM
Call a service plumber that has an electric pipe-thawing machine.

kairo
December 10th, 2009, 09:45 AM
Are there any service plumbers on Reno4x4 with an electric pipe thawing machine? :D

eticketjk
December 10th, 2009, 10:12 AM
electric pipe thawing machine (http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-Heaters-Humidifiers-Heaters-Electric-Fan-Heaters/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xhrZbd2z/R-100683982/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053) :D

Used this exact one last night. Left it pointed at the frozen line for about 3 hours and I got water out of it...:woot2:

jfrey123
December 10th, 2009, 10:19 AM
It's because Hot water actually freezes faster than cold water.

Hot freezes faster because of the molecules. Hot h2o molecules move around and are further spaced apart than cold h2o molecules. One analogy they gave to us in Boy Scouts: imagine trying to survive in a Winter situation. Are you more likely to freeze with a group all spread out or a group clustered together?

You can try this one at home. Fill one ice tray with hot tap water, one tray with cold tap water. Freeze them and see which one is frozen first. It defies logic!



Oh, and sorry about your pipes. I got lucky with my home and the hot water heater is in the laundry room. I thought my garage was insulated, because the p.o. had gone in and sheetrocked and shelved the entire thing, I was thinkin' "SWEET!" But the last few nights I've gone out there without a jacket to grab something and nearly caught frost bite. Cold garage sucks.

Gizmatical Fuquad
December 10th, 2009, 10:20 AM
electric pipe thawing machine (http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-Heaters-Humidifiers-Heaters-Electric-Fan-Heaters/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xhrZbd2z/R-100683982/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053) :D

Used this exact one last night. Left it pointed at the frozen line for about 3 hours and I got water out of it...:woot2:

That could work, but with the pipe in question being behind a wall, maybe not so well. The unit I am referring to is very much like a DC stick welder, you clamp the leads on either side of the ice plug (i.e. one clamp at the water heater pipe and one at the supply valve to a fixture in the house.) and apply current. Generally only takes a few minutes.

kairo
December 10th, 2009, 01:28 PM
crisis averted. I put a space heater in the crawl space before I went to class, and by the time I got home, it had thawed whichever line it was enough to get all the water flowing again. Life is good once again.
Thanks for all the help!

eticketjk
December 10th, 2009, 01:48 PM
The unit I am referring to is very much like a DC stick welder, you clamp the leads on either side of the ice plug (i.e. one clamp at the water heater pipe and one at the supply valve to a fixture in the house.) and apply current

Thanks for the information on that! Good to know for future use. Too bad it won't work on mine as all the pipes in my house are that new plastic stuff. My pipe was in the wall but it had an outlet right there with a valve so the heater worked ok for me. I love learning things though so thanks again for the info!

ammowaster
December 10th, 2009, 07:42 PM
One of the windshield sprayers froze up on my truck yesterday, drivers side of course. Thought for sure I had busted the line but today it worked fine.

This has been the longest cold snap I remember since I have lived down here

litlmeck
December 10th, 2009, 08:15 PM
electric pipe-thawing machine.

How does that work w/ PEX?

Gizmatical Fuquad
December 10th, 2009, 08:43 PM
How does that work w/ PEX?

Umm, not very well. lol

However, although PEX will still freeze, it is much less prone to bursting than copper. If your house is plumbed with PEX, apply heat tape to all the exposed and vulnerable sections and cover with pipe insulation. The heat tape should keep the tube to a minimum of 40 so your cold water is still cold but stays above the freeze point.