Frozen Pipe??? but wall is insulated...

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by suzyq2626, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. suzyq2626

    suzyq2626 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I have a small laundry room addition off the side of my house. 3 walls of the room are outside walls, and the room is open underneath to the outside (2 pilasters for foundation, no crawlspace or basement). So needless to say, it is very exposed to wind. Also the room is not heated, but we keep the door to the house open to keep it heated. Anyway, we only have a cold water pipe leading from the house basement thru to the room, via exterior walls. The pipes have frozen. We put 4" of batt insulation (in 4" stud walls) between the outside and the pipe. What else can be done? If we put wrap-on pipe insulation, will that just keep the heat in the laundry room away from the water pipe? Please help.
  2. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Insulation won't add any heat, only slows down heat loss. Try using a little ceramic space heater, and keep it on the lowest temp, or you can wrap the frozen section of pipe with heating tape, if the pipe is accessible.

    Another option is, once the pipe is thawed out, to leave it dripping in a sink on the cold days and nights, but this won't work if you live in a very cold climate.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  3. suzyq2626

    suzyq2626 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking of putting a space heater in there. And I suppose I could disconnect the hose to the washer and let it drip into a bucket. We live around Detroit, MI; so not too cold usually. So, basically, sounds like opening up the walls and adding insulation won't really help???
  4. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I just talked to my parents who live in West Bloomfield, and they said it's damn cold there right now.

    The space heater is the best option. There are hoses and a pump inside the washing machine that hold water, which can freeze, as well. And one service call will cost more than any electricity you may use heating the room up.
  5. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I recall a few years back I went on a frozen water pipe call. As we thawed the pipes we found that it had busted. So we repair the break, then find there was more ice in the system thaw, find broken pipe repair , more thawing and so on. After a couple hours of this i happened by the thermostat in the home and say the needle pegged below 50. I then asked how come the heat is not on. They told me oh the gas was turned off months ago they didn't think they need any heat. My jaw dropped. Only reason I didn't notice this was it was 30 below with 50 below windchills so it felt 100 times warmer in the home. I called the gas company and they where out in 10 minutes and took the lock of the meter so we can get the heat going. I just shook my head in disbelief.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,304
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    freeze

    The there is a small gap exposed to the outside where a breeze can blow through, such as where the wall sits on the floor, that will freeze a water pipe passing through that area.
  7. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    217
    Location:
    Ontario
  8. suzyq2626

    suzyq2626 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    We've been running a space heater in that room, running on a thermostat, and the pipes are still freezing.

    The pipes are not easily accessible; wall panelling would have to be removed completely on both walls.

    Any other suggestions?
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You have to open the wall to let heat in. I would never discourage adding insulation, but as pointed out, insulation only slows heat loss, it provides zero warmth by itself. You have to have warm air moving through the space where the pipe is. Sealing outside air leaks and adding insulation would be a good first step, but if there is no heat in the wall space, sooner or later the pipes will freeze. An ordinary light bulb will provide ample heat in a small enclosed area and is safer than a space heater.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,824
    Location:
    New England
    My guess is that the walls have numerous air leaks...doesn't take much when it is frigid to freeze the pipes.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    That's a great way to freeze up a drain!
    Drains are a lot more difficult to thaw than supply lines...:eek:
  12. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thats a fact, I am going on one in the morning. About two years ago I had to thaw the sewer at this place, took for ever, was not plumbed properly. Jettier kept coming up all the other drains no matter where I tried to run it. They put a blind tee under ground. I finally got it by digging up the sewer and installed an outside clean out. So this time should be easy. *crosses fingers*
Similar Threads: Frozen Pipe
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Frozen pipe prevention for Mobile home after power outage... insolvable problem? Feb 7, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Frozen Pipes Jan 6, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Frozen Pipe - Pipe thawer not working! Jan 3, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Frozen Pipe Repair Dec 10, 2013
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Help! Frozen pipes and minus 33 outside Jan 24, 2013

Share This Page