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Help from people more familiar with frozen pipes

Old 01-11-2010, 06:30 AM
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Default Help from people more familiar with frozen pipes

How are you keeping your outside water faucets and pipes going to them from freezing? I'm in SC on the coast--it's not supposed to do that here. But I've woken the last two days to find frozen (and busted) pipes.

Yesterday about about 10:30 or so, I heard this "woosh" sound, and thought it was the clothes washer or something. About 45 minutes later, my neighbor knocked on my door telling me I had a busted pipe; he saw the water going down my driveway. It cracked where it is basically outside, above the garage, above the vinyl soffet, leading down the wall to the outside water spicket. By the time I found it, it had totally soaked about an 8x8 section of garage ceiling, and completely taken out about a 2x2 section of it.

I cut the main water supply off, and looked outside at the spicket. It had about 3 inches of icicles holding onto it. The "dripping" froze! It took about $7 worth of CPVC (including the glue) to fix it..and probably $500-$1000 of sheetrock repair my garage needs.

So last night I really let them "drip" (IE turned them on and let them run into buckets) and woke up this morning to find 1/2" wide icicles hanging from the spickets into the bucket they were pouring into. I cut the main water supply off (which is now leaking), as I can't be there when it thaws today until i get home (and see what else broke).

What are you northerners doing to keep your faucets and pipes outside from freezing/busting? After fixing it, I insulated the pipe that broke yesterday, but that doesn't seem to have done any good. All the piping is CPVC, if it matters.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:34 AM
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I shut the waterline to my 2 outside spigots and leave the outside valves open.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:42 AM
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When I lived in GA we did the same thing. Shut off supply to the outside faucets and leave them open. Problem is, you probably dont have a shut off to those pipes. Of course thats always an option to add depending on where the pipes are run and how easy it would be to put a valve inline.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by fishinmaniac View Post
When I lived in GA we did the same thing. Shut off supply to the outside faucets and leave them open. Problem is, you probably dont have a shut off to those pipes. Of course thats always an option to add depending on where the pipes are run and how easy it would be to put a valve inline.
Looks like I might need to install extra valves to them. You're right; i don't have valves to them.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:58 AM
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What NJfish said.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:59 AM
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I drain the lines going outside, my laundry room is on the back of my garage and the pipes run into my garage in the winter i wrap the pipes with heat tracing to keep them from freezing you can find it at lowes or home depot
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:39 AM
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Put frost proof hydrants back in place of the boiler drains you got now.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:46 AM
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Shut of the supply to any external faucets and install frost proof hydrants, very little work to correct the issue. You could also wrap the pipes inside with heat tape for the short term, another idea is to put have a simple 60 watt light bulb burning alongside the pipes inside as they exit to the exterior. Many people use this trick to prevent frozen pipes in a seasonal home also.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:10 AM
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Yes heat tape is a a good inexpensive solution especially as you are only very seldom gonna go under 32. for long term adding the shut off valves inside and then adding an easy to drain opening to the outside is the way to go....

Another possibility (not knowing you configuration) - You may want to get a space heater for the garage and keep the garage at 50 or so when its cold.. I have a built in like 40 amp 220v forced air heater in my garage to both heat the garage in the winter when I am working there, and to give me a way to thaw pipes over the garage in case they ever freeze for any reason. Portable, kerosene, propane, and electric heaters can also be of help. I like the electric just for the safety but those torpedo kero heaters can blow out lots of heat in a very short time. I would also considering rerouting that line so -

My outside faucets have a shutoff valve in the basement as they all come out the foundatiion from the basement - I usually forget to use the shutoff valves but the basement stays warm enough so the faucets and pipes do not freeze.

good luck - hope its over soon.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:41 AM
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As stated, shut off valves are the way to go. 1 hour job at most depending on access. They are pretty standard up here in the north country.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:52 AM
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Shut off and drain. Do be careful of heat tape. One caught on fire at my Dad's house once. Luckily he was home and smelled it before it did any real damage.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:07 AM
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If its a detached garage I would add a shut off valve to the garage and shut it off when you get cold weather like this.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by NJFISH View Post
I shut the waterline to my 2 outside spigots and leave the outside valves open.
^^^^^^^^^^^^ This is a case where the simplest and easiest way is the best way.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:55 PM
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Added valves to both of the outside spickets tonight; also had to replace the main water valve as it started leaking.

It's only getting to 30 tonight..I hope that fixes it. In other news, a fair portion of the ceiling in my garage fell down today.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:44 PM
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The Pex in our house on the coast just got shut-off valves installed because leaving the faucets running is both wasteful and not guaranteed to work. Yes, I know that Pex is supposed to be freeze-safe...but don't want to risk things. $7 per valve with two rings and $7.50 to rent the Pex squeezer tool.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:19 AM
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The difference between northern plumbing and southern is that we do not run any pipes in outside walls, its all on the interior of the home, making frozen pipes pretty much a non-issue.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:15 AM
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So far no problems at home but at my office we had line break, I will normally leave all the faucets at a slow trickle and that does the trick at the office but last weekend it dropped to mid teens and I did not realize it was going to be that cold.

Not sure if this works but I have seen people use towels, rags and some other things to cover outside spigots to keep them from freezing

It would be nice to have shutoffs but most in the South do not, just prefer for you northern folks to keep this cold ass weather.

Next thing we get to worry about is our Gas and Electric bills next month

How much does it cost you folks up north to heat your homes in a month
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by tprice View Post
How much does it cost you folks up north to heat your homes in a month
Between the house and the 1,800 sq. ft. shop I'm into about $400 per month on a Cold Windy month. Later this morning I'll be blowing in another R30 to the house attic, giving me approx R65 and next week I'll be adding another R30-35 to the shop's attic, which should have me in around R55.

Yesterday afternoon I had the gas fitter in to hook up my new furnance and that I installed and my new 15 seer A/C unit. Between the insulation and the 95% DC furance I'm hoping to half my natural gas bill. ......it doesn't hurt that the government is giving me a kick back of a couple of grand. Buy at cost , install myself , get tons of money back from the government and then save lots of money.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:53 AM
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I spend about $175 a month on coal to heat our 1200 sq ft home. We heat from November to April.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:53 AM
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Most of us in the north have our exterior water systems designed to be 'blown out' with compressed air. I spend 1/2 day blowing out my outdoor lines every fall before heading south. I have a length of hose with a female garden hose end and a quick disconnect for the air compressor on the other... I'm done when not even water vapors comes out each line...

Originally Posted by tprice View Post
How much does it cost you folks up north to heat your homes in a month
Just got a record bill for gas at home (set at 50) $192.00...
BTW it is a restored 1400sqft 1931 Sears kit house with two systems, baseboard & hot air systems plus a heated garage (set on 40).
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