Need some Deep-freeze Advice


#1

Funny to put this into “Water Cooler” lol

It is neg-19F here. It’ll start warming this afternoon and eve-night.

I need some advice about my frozen toilet water line / pipe. If I can do nothing and let it thaw, it’d be best for me. Otherwise, I forget the best way to unfreeze the line / pipes. A few years ago, we heated the BR through heating the porcelain with a space heater. But it’s so cold, I’m afraid to do it…

Toilet sits at an angle in a corner of a small bathroom. Not much room in there. No way to heat from either side, so must be from front of the bowl-- which is not where the pipes are.

The copper pipe drops from the tank, then is bent around the outside BR wall to the sink (which is still dripping cold water from the tap), then the copper pipe drops through hole into unheated crawl space. Have 2 of those. Where it drops down is a about a length of 26-28 foot crawl space from backdoor to side wall of bathroom. A second 15x20 foot room-size crawl space comes from the bathroom doorway, going on the 20-feet side toward the main basement. I don’t think the pipes in the crawl space are frozen in this instance.

The distance of that copper pipe in the bathroom, though, is less than 3-5 feet on the outside wall of the BR. The sink (closest to the BR door, and thus, closer to the main basement, is still flowing cold water (have had that dripping or lightly running for nearly a week).

My next worry with setting up a heater is both the BR and next room, DR, are on old 15amp house wiring. The kitchen has newer wiring (20 ?) on breakers. Running a heavy duty orange extension cord could overheat / melt the 15amp wiring, and to never plug it into a power strip because it will overheat those.

I could set up the orange cord from the kitchen to the BR door and plug the heater into that… Would that be the safest plan?

Or, can I just let that short distance of the pipe in the BR thaw out as the air temp rises, plus keeping the furnace running at a high temp to force warm air into the BR… ??

Whatcha think?


#2

Since the feed line comes off the same feed for the sink and the sink is not frozen, then it looks like it’s the feed line from the toilet running through the wall to the sink.

The copper pipe from the toilet goes into the outside wall and over to the sink. Is it poorly insulated? Remember that the thin tubing that connects between the toilet tank and the copper line coming in could also freeze first - being so small in diameter and if frigid air is blowing on that. Maybe start there with a hair dryer and after warming that up, and the toilet won’t fill, move backward from there if you can. You don’t want to build up pressure behind the frozen section and burst the pipe.

Question: Do you have hot water to your sink? Hot water will freeze first because a lot of air is forced out of the water when it was heated. If you have hot water, then chances are your cold water pipe did not freeze in the crawl space. One other possibility is that they made the connection between the sink and the toilet in the crawl space. Ouch! I hope not. But if they did, then the line to the toilet could very well be down there in the crawl space.

You may want to try using a hair dryer to force hot air into the wall if the opening for the water line behind the toilet has some space. (It should have a circular cover to hide the opening. Sometimes you can slide the cover away from the wall by twisting it side-to-side while pulling on it. Just don’t cut yourself.

I hope you get things sorted out. When you do, remember to flush a little more often until the temperatures warm up. It’s better to waste a little water than to have a frozen pipe burst and waste a lot - and cause a lot of damage.

All said and done, in your health you would probably be better off letting someone else - preferably someone with experience - thaw your pipe out. You don’t want to be sitting in a cold draft and ending up with pneumonia again. :hushed:


#3

I was on a 3-hour mandatory flushing schedule. But the BR has no heat vent and with that huge drop in temp when the furnace couldn’t get above 67F, I lost the war. I could feel major drafts through the grouting between the glass block on the walls, and along the window.

I didn’t know I needed to work backward-- good to know. I bet you are right that the inlet into the tank froze first.

The copper pipes are not inside the wall. They lay on the floor of the BR, the perfect storm location along an outside wall plus being directly over the crawl space, plus -22 air blowing. Wish I had a thermometer to get a reading in there… butt cold!

Yeah, I don’t think I could do another lung problem. Plus not great circulation. J1 has not recovered well from her knee replacement. J2 won’t be here till Sunday. No idea where J1 put my hair dryer-- she thinks she used it to thaw the freezer. Sigh…Think I’ll stay in bed till it thaws. lol

Thanks for the input on this.


#4

@cageycat I think that Jim7 got it correct… can’t stress how important it is to always work away from an open valve, or even a split in a pipe if they freeze badly… First off you don’t always have to thaw a whole pipe…so starting at the one that doesn’t produce the expected water is a good thing…
Toilet inlet valves are double at least… the tank fill valve (the one that fills the tank) is the first in the chain.
then there is the fill hose leading up from the cutoff valve which is the second in the line… you might not have ice in the usual sense… but slush can block the tube and the valves… If the tank is empty, you can almost bet that the valve is open… so gentle heat can be applied with suitable source… starting near the tank… but don’t heat it, just warm it… and I’d think to consider what happens if water comes out of the piping, valve etc… a wet floor could be a shock hazard.

Some how I don’t think that you will need to do that, but always think about that for your helpers…

If you have one, a partly filled hot water bottle, could be filled with ‘bath’ hot water and put in contact with the cutoff valve to warm that… just figure a way to support it there and remember not to freeze it… you could also do that to the fill tube… and it is gentle on the porcelain as well when warm… not boiling or anything you wouldn’t leave your hand in…
Good luck… and hope you remember to get someone to check that plugin heat cable… is.


#5

Hi-ho, Hi-ho,
Warm temps made water flow
I heard it tinkling like an elf
Below the toilet’s wall shelf
Then it gushed, and flowed–
Hi-ho, it gushed and flowed!

Yessssssssss!

I did nothing except put square plastic over the side that has the intake pipe, like a diaper to keep its tush warmed. Can’t tell you how pleasant it is to hear a toilet tinkling.

Think I’ll still have j2 bring a hairdryer to get it properly warmed up.

Gotta give this post my own hearts :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:


#6

:triumph: Glad to hear it’s open! Less than an hour ago I heard a call on the scanner up at the senior housing building at the top of my hill. A resident reported water coming down through her ceiling from the apartment above. :open_mouth: When fire company arrived they found no one home in the upstairs apartment. Had to get the building manager to let them in. Now they have a water pipe and probably floor to repair on the 2nd floor, and a ceiling and walls (and floor?) to repair on the first floor. At least the leak wasn’t from up on the 3rd floor! :grinning:


#7

I admit, though, I’m a bit afraid it will refreeze.


#8

Cagey, I saw this on FB today and thought of you…just had to post.


#9

I thought you were meaning the shadow of the cat on the tank.


#10

That is so cool! (pun intended) :laughing:


#11

OMG there’s a cat frozen in that tank :scream:

:laughing:


#12

After such glee that my toilet redeemed itself, last night the copper pipe under the pedestal BR sink started dripping. The pipe is hidden behind the pedestal and the U joint drain pipe and from the calcium buildup on the joints of the U joint, it looks like it’s dripped off and on for a while. It isn’t bad-- overnight it filled a 3 pound plastic container 3/4ths full (one of those Oxy containers).

Soooo… call to LL. Let him wrench his back and neck trying to see the pipes! No shut off valve, of course! First thing I’m demanding. Second, unstick the shut off valves in the basement. Third fix the toilet shut off to be a righty-tighty (away from), not lefty tighty (toward me). THEN, fix BR sink.

:crying_cat_face: in bad mood.

.


#13

Exhausted! Been down & up from the floor so much in the last week that my legs are barely moving without pain. Time for a long winter’s nap! Oh, that’s the Night Before Christmas---- I’m in the wrong season! But so is @Jim7 “When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.”