Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Frozen Pipes, Leaky Faucets

Sorry for a very short post today.  Notice the ice on my kitchen window.  This is the first time in 25 years I have seen this window like this.  And I also have frozen pipes! I have one faucet that is running even when it is fully turned off.  What causes this?  I am back to holding a hairdryer to the pipes!

25 comments:

Sharon said...

Oh wow, I cant even imagine how cold it must be over there. xx

Ellen in Oregon said...

The faucet continuing to run may be the result of pressure backing up in the pipe or a valve could have broken. When you use the hair dryer always start at the area closet to you slowly working the heat towards the wall.This helps gradually relieve the pressure built up by the ice. Most burst pipes happen when the temps. rise and the pipes contract after being expanded by the ice. Once the water flows there is now room for the water to escape any cracks made by the expansion of the ice.
If the faucet you shut off is continuing to flow at more than a trickle, it would probably be best to shut off the water main & try to get a hold of a plummer to see how to proceed. A valve in the faucet itself may be broken or displaced by ice as opposed to something being broken in the pipe running to it. Have you been letting all your exterior wall sink run at a trickle? This helps prevent the pipe from freezing. Also leave all cabinet/vanity doors below the sinks wide open so heat can circulate around the pipes.
If you suspect or know a pipe is broken, the only thing to do do prevent more damage is to shut off the main ASAP & call until you get a plummer to consult with. You also might want to fill a tub with water in case you need it to flush the toilets, if you have to shut off the water for any length of time.
Make the house as quite as possible & listen to any exterior wall where pipes are likely to run. If you hear something that makes you think you hear water moving, again, you need to shut the main & call a plummer for help. There is nothing else you can do.
If the faucet that is running stops running & you see/hear no signs of pipe problems, do all the precautionary things and check periodically for signs of leaks, especially the first couple of days when temps rise & complete thawing takes place.You need to scan the house for any signs/sound of problems until your frigid temps are over for a couple of days. I imagine you already had insulated foam covers on your outdoor faucets & water systems. .
Sorry there is not more that can be done. Hopefully, the water main is somewhere you can easily access it. Keep your eyes & ears open. Never try to thaw a pipe quickly - slow & low heat is the way to go. Always warm faucets starting with the end closest to you working the warmth towards the wall.
I hope you end up with no major problems with the pipes and that the worst of this weather is over.

Laurie said...

well that's not good, something must have happened to the valve or a piece of ice stuck near the washer or rubbers,
frozen pipes too, wow, thats a mess, hope you warm up soon,
this winter is nasty!

Patty Woodland said...

Ugh. Frozen pipes are a pain in the tchukes.

I hope you get it sorted out.

Dee said...

Not good at all! Hope you get it straightened out soon.

Guillaume said...

I feel your pain.

Stevie Taylor said...

Yep. We burst a pipe. too. it was an outside spigot that burst under the stairs. guess it was thawed in the house but frozen outside. the kids turned on the spigot to rinse off their boots and it burst. better on the concrete than under the wood floors, I guess. I didn't even try to fix it---called plumber before hubby could come home and make it worse :)Stevie @ ruffledfeathersandspilledmilk.com

Nellie said...

Oh, no! I am so sorry you have this problem! The only thing I would know to do is call a plumber, and they are sure to be overloaded with calls at this point.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Oh oh. Frozen pipes are the WORST. Good luck and I hope the damage isn't too severe.

gloriahanaway said...

What Ellen said is great! I read water meters and if you can actually see your meter, there will be a small (1/4') triangle. If all the water is off in the house and it is spinning round like crazy and the gallon gauge is racking up gallons like crazy, turn the main off ASAP and call a licensed plumber. I have repaired a broken pipe (busted Dec 24, 2011- repair finished Dec31, 2011) and it is not fun. Good luck.

TARYTERRE said...

I hope you get your pipes fixed and working soon. I love your window but understand all too well how bad it is when you see frost on the inside. Stay warm.

1st Man said...

That window is beautiful, but I digress...I'm so sorry for your pipe problem. We were so worried about pipes here, we got to the teens and most pipes start freezing around low 20's. Make sure you don't have any hidden pipes that might be leaking, even a slow drip can cause headaches later on. What you can do is make sure everything is off, no water running, go to your water meter, write down the number, and then go away for a day or a few hours anyway, and then when you come back, read the number again. If the meter has moved, there is water leaking somewhere.

Stay warm!

sandra hagan said...

hope all is under control now sweetie.

Bird said...

Oh dear, that's awful. I wish I could help and say what I think the problem is but I'm no plumber. Hope you can find out what's going on and that it's easily repaired.

Debby said...

We woke up to no water on Monday. We were so lucky that a plumber could work us in the same day. We had frozen pipes and one had busted. My son had to get a new furnace on the week-end. My other son that just bought his house in the fall is still dealing with frozen pipes and heat issues. This extreme cold is causing a lot of issues for sure. Stay warm and I hope that your problems can be fixed soon.

Cottage Tails said...

brrrr way too cold.

chickpea678 said...

Oh no! Are things getting better? One of our toilets was acting wonky on the really cold day but today is back to normal and filling its tank up as usual. Some of our windows had freezing on the inside as well. Can't wait for this cold weather to go away! I'm sleeping with a wool hat a la Little House on the Prairie!

Barb said...

I have no idea but it looks like lots o0f other folks have given you some things to think about. I am so sorry for your troubles!

Cuisine de Provence said...

Poor you - I am trying real hard sending you some Provençal sunshine...

Suzanne said...

I am so sorry. I wish I had some wisdom for you.

luckybunny said...

First of all the window is awesome. Minus the ice.

Secondly I cannot believe your pipes are freezing, usually that happens only when the house gets too cold or is left unattended. I've only had it happen to me once when I lived in an old farmhouse - I was a kid and trying to figure out how to keep the woodstove going all night without having to keep getting up and it went out on me. Poof, frozen pipes in the kitchen, one cold and unhappy me.

I hope you don't have continued trouble with em. So weird!

Kay said...

Oh no! That's so awful! When it got real cold in Illinois. I used to let the water in the basement dribble a little so that it would keep running during the cold spell. I hated to waste the water, but they advised us to do this.

Monica Ryan said...

Water that freezes during the winter in an unprotected pipe expands, and that expansion can rupture an otherwise sound pipe. You can use hot water to thaw the pipes. Until the ice melts and drains down the pipe, the hot water you pour in will back up towards you. Have a bucket ready to catch the overflow, and be careful not to scald yourself, Jaz! :)

Monica Ryan @ VillagePlumbing

Don Bennett said...

That was during the snowstorm period, right? Tough. Heard a lot of horror stories in that regard, as if the weather onslaught isn't a monstrosity in and of itself. Here's to hoping you've pulled through and that you've gained access to good plumbing to prop those pipes up into shape.

Don Bennett @ Athens Plumbing & Well Service

Gordon Patton said...

Frozen pipes and leaky faucets are usually related problems. So as to all those household woes you were dealing with back then; they all boiled down to the freezing temperature at that time. That accumulated ice in your window is obviously caused by it, and so as the frozen pipes which leads to faulty water flow and thus, the leaky faucets.

Gordon Patton @ Bison Plumbing